What is Carpal Tunnel Syndrome: Causes, Symptoms, and Treatments

Posted on June 4th, 2015 by Orthopaedic Specialty Group

Our hands play a huge role in our everyday lives. They are essential for eating, working, driving, and communicating, but we often pay little attention to them until something goes wrong. One of the most common problems people develop with their hands is carpal tunnel syndrome. Read below to learn more about the condition that affects more than 3 million Americans every year.

The Carpal Tunnel

The carpal tunnel is a narrow passageway located in your wrist which connects your forearm to your palm. It is filled with tendons, bones, connective tissue, and the median nerve. When any of the flexor tendons become swollen or inflamed, it narrows this passageway and often compresses the median nerve; a condition known as carpal tunnel syndrome.

Symptoms of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

The main symptom of carpal tunnel syndrome is numbness or a tingling sensation in your hand. This “pins and needles” affect can be felt in the thumb as well as the index, middle and ring fingers, but generally not the pinky. The severity is usually worse after waking up or while performing activities such as driving, texting, or using the computer.

Risk Factors

The following factors don’t necessarily cause carpal tunnel syndrome, but they do increase your likelihood of developing it:

  • Being a female.
  • Medical conditions such as arthritis, obesity, and diabetes can all put you at risk by reducing the blood flow to your hands.
  • Repeated hand and wrist movements, often caused by one’s occupation.
  • Broken bones in the wrist or hand.


Treatment Options

Treatment should begin as soon as possible to avoid long-term damage to the nerves and loss of muscle strength in the hands. Treatment options include:

  • Home treatments. This includes refraining from activities which aggravate your symptoms and wearing a wrist splint when needed, especially while sleeping.
  • Medication. Over-the-counter pain relievers and other nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs can help reduce pain and inflammation.
  • Physical Therapy. Working with a licensed therapist can help alleviate your pain through stretching, exercising, and ultrasounds.
  • Surgery. If other treatment options have not helped, surgery may be required to prevent long-term nerve damage.

If you are experiencing pain, numbness, or tingling in your hand, you should seek medical attention. Connecticut residents can rely on the experts at Orthopaedic Specialty Group to properly diagnose and treat their wrist problems. With five facilities conveniently located throughout Fairfield County and a team of dedicated physicians, help is just a call away with OSG. Call (203) 337-2600 to book an appointment with one of our doctors.