Frequently Asked Questions on Carpal Tunnel


What is carpal tunnel syndrome?

The median nerve runs from your forearm to your hand through a small area in your wrist called the carpal tunnel. Pressure on the median nerve can cause numbness, tingling, weakness, and other problems in the hand which result in the Carpal tunnel syndrome.

What are the possible causes of carpal tunnel syndrome?

Pressure on the median nerve can come from swelling or anything that makes the carpal tunnel smaller. Some of the causes are as follows:

  • Illnesses such as hypothyroidism, rheumatoid arthritis, and diabetes
  • Making the same hand movements over and over, especially if the wrist is bent down (your hands lower than your wrists), or making the same wrist movements over and over like working on a computer or physical activities like hammering.
  • Pregnancy
What symptoms indicate the occurence of carpal tunnel syndrome?

Symptoms that indicate carpal tunnel syndrome are :

  • Numbness, tingling, burning, and pain—mostly in the thumb,index, middle, or ring fingers
  • Occasional shock-like sensations
  • Pain or tingling that may travel up the forearm toward the shoulder
  • Weakness and clumsiness in the hand making it difficult to perform movements such as buttoning your clothes
  • Dropping things—due to weakness, numbness, or a loss of proprioception (awareness of where your hand is in space)
How to check for carpal tunnel syndrome?

These tests are best if performed in presence of a medical professional or doctor:

  • Press down or tap along the median nerve at inside of your wrist to see if it causes any numbness or tingling in your fingers (Tinel sign)
  • Bend and hold your wrists in a flexed position to test for numbness or tingling in your hands
  • Test sensitivity in your fingertips and hands by lightly touching them with a special instrument when your eyes are closed.
  • Check for weakness in the muscles around the base of your thumb
  • Look for atrophy in the muscles around the base of your thumb. In severe cases, these muscles may become visibly smaller.
What are the treatment options for carpal tunnel syndrome?

If diagnosed early the carpal tunnel syndrome can be treated with the help of special wrist braces and night splints developed specially for carpal tunnel disorders. Additionally your healthcare provider may prescribe pain relief medications and exercises for the same. If diagnosed late, surgery is the only option to treat carpal tunnel syndrome. Surgery may remove the pressure from the median nerve temporarily but the CTS may reoccur. Lifestyle changes are recomended to prevent the reoccurence of CTS.