What is carpal tunnel syndrome?
Carpal tunnel syndrome is the result of the median nerve being pressed or squeezed within the wrist. It can also be the result of thickening of irritated tendons or other swelling that narrows the passageway of median nerve. Symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome are progressive. They may begin with frequent burning, tingling, or itching numbness in the palm of the hand and fingers. As carpal tunnel syndrome progresses, symptoms may include pain radiating up the arm, weakness, numbness in the hand and wrist, and the inability to distinguish between hot and cold by touch.
How is carpal tunnel syndrome diagnosed?
Early diagnosis and treatment of carpal tunnel syndrome is critical to prevent permanent damage to the median nerve. The wrist is checked for tenderness, swelling, warmth, and discoloration. The fingers are examined for sensation, strength, and signs of atrophy. Physicians may use electrodiagnostic tests which can measure the severity of the damage to the median nerve.
How is carpal tunnel syndrome treated?
Carpal tunnel syndrome is treated by reducing movements that exasperate the condition. Other treatments may include cold therapy, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, stretching and strengthening exercises, yoga and surgery.
Adapted from the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke