Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
What is Carpal Tunnel Syndrome?Carpal Tunnel Syndrome is a painful condition of the hand caused by compression of the median nerve which runs through the wrist in between the muscles of the forearm. The median nerve is situated on the palm side of the hand and it runs down the wrist through a structure known as the carpal tunnel. The median nerve is a main peripheral nerve and supplies blood to the thumb, forefinger, middle finger and half of the ring finger all on the palm side. Therefore, any dysfunction along the median nerve can cause numbness, pins and needles, and pain anywhere along the palm of the hand. Pain from the median nerve is often worse at night and if left untreated, it can cause weakness in the forearm and loss of grip.
CausesCompression of the median nerve is often as a result of swelling inside the wrist and or the forearm muscles which stops the median nerve from gliding through the muscle. Nerves are not able to stretch like muscles, rather they glide through muscles therefore any tightness in the forearm arm muscles can reduce the function of the nerve. To put things into perspective for you, there are ten muscles on the palm side known as forearm flexors and they all go through the carpal tunnel. Therefore, stretching your forearm is extremely important to ensure the nerve is functioning well.
- Pins and needles
- Pain, particularly at night
- Radiating pain into the arm and shoulder
- Weakness in the hand
- The little finger and half of the ring finger are unaffected
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