Carpel Tunnel Syndrome
What is Carpal tunnel Syndrome?
Carpal tunnel syndrome, one of the common problems affecting the hand, is commonly found in women, but is possible in men also. It is also common among IT professionals. Carpal tunnel syndrome causes pain, numbness, weakness, and tingling in the wrist and hand. Numbness could be due to a variety of reasons, like problems with the cervical disk, compression of nerves, lack of blood supply to the hand, etc. Carpal tunnel syndrome occurs when there is increased pressure on the median nerve within the wrist.
The median nerve is responsible for sensation to the thumb, index, and middle fingers and to half of the ring finger. In people suffering from carpal tunnel syndrome, due to the increased pressure on the median nerve, they experience numbness to the thumb, index, and middle fingers. In some cases, depending on the severity, the pain can radiate to the shoulders. There are various tests to diagnose carpal tunnel syndrome.
The carpal tunnel is a narrow canal in the wrist through which the median nerve passes. The tunnel is made up of carpal bones on the bottom and sides of the tunnel that are formed in a semi-circle and a ligament, which is a strong tissue called the transverse carpal ligament, on the top of the tunnel that holds the tunnel together. The median nerve, which provides feeling to most of the fingers, passes through this tunnel. The tunnel also contains the tendons, which connect muscles in the forearm to the bones in the hand.
What are the symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome?
Symptoms include numbness at night and tingling or pain in the fingers, especially the thumb, index and middle fingers. Symptoms are common in the night and can wake people up from their sleep. In the early stage of the condition, shaking the hands helps relieve the condition.
Symptoms also include tingling in the fingers, difficulty in using the hands for small tasks like writing or using the computer keyboard, decreased feeling in the fingertips.
Carpal Tunnel Syndrome Treatment
Carpal tunnel syndrome is treated non-surgically or surgically depending on the severity. Non-surgical treatments include wearing a wrist splint at night, taking NSAIDs, etc, for patients with mild-to-moderate symptoms. Surgical treatment is performed by cutting the transverse carpal ligament that covers the tunnel. This provides relief from the carpal tunnel symptoms.
Cutting the transverse ligament that covers the tunnel can be done by open or by endoscopic (keyhole) surgery.