What is carpal tunnel syndrome?

August 10, 2007 at 2:49 pm Leave a comment

Carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS) – a condition whereby the median nerve is compressed at the wrist which causes pain and muscle weakness in the forearm and hand. CTS is more common in women than it is in men, and can occur at any age but most often affects those in their forties. About 10% of people will get CTS at some point in their life.

Carpal Tunnel Syndrome was first diagnosed at the beginning of the last century but has become widely known to the general public in the 1990s as more people have suffered from chronic wrist pain due to the rapid increase in office jobs.

The median nerve passes through the a channel in the wrist called the carpal tunnel. In addition to the nerve, nine tendons also pass through the carpal tunnel. The nerve can get compressed because of a decrease in the size of the canal or an increase in the size of the contents or both. Just bending the wrist at 90 degrees will decrease the size of the canal.

The symptoms of CTS may first appear when sleeping. They usually include numbness and a burning and tingling sensation in the fingers (called parasthesia) especially the thumb, index, and middle fingers. The nocturnal appearance of these symptoms is because many people sleep with bent wrists which compresses the carpal tunnel.

Later symptoms include:

  • Difficulty gripping and making a fist
  • dropping objects
  • weakness

It is important to note that these symptoms occur in other conditions and unless numbness or paresthesia are among the most severe symptoms it is unlikely to be carpal tunnel syndrome.

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Entry filed under: carpal tunnel.

Exercises to treat and help Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

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