Carpal tunnel syndrome is a condition involving numerous symptoms affecting the hands and wrists. This painful condition is caused when the median nerve, found within the carpal tunnel of the wrist along with other tendons in the hand, becomes compressed.
The median nerve functions by controlling nerve sensations and impulses from the palm area of the fingers and the thumb as well as to the muscles in the hand, providing feeling and movement. When the tendons become irritated, causing inflammation and swelling, an impingement of the median nerve occurs, resulting in carpal tunnel syndrome. The pinched nerve may then develop a variety of symptoms most commonly associated to the condition.
Trauma from an accident to the hand or wrist and/or overuse from repetitive activities, such as constant typing on a keyboard, are common reasons carpal tunnel syndrome develops. The added pressure begins to irritate and compress the median nerve, leading to the impairing symptoms of pain, among others.
The most common symptoms include pain, numbness, a tingling sensation, and weakness on the hands, wrists, and forearms. Pain and numbness in these areas is usually intense. The discomfort from these symptoms can affect an individual’s everyday lifestyles. Gripping objects may become difficult as carpal tunnel syndrome progresses over time due to loss of muscle strength. The tingling sensations radiating from the hand is often described as a feeling of “pins and needles” through the hands, wrists, and forearms.
By Dr. Alex Jimenez
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