Carpal tunnel syndrome

Comprehensive Guide to Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

Carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS) is a prevalent medical condition that occurs when pressure is exerted on the median nerve, which passes through the carpal tunnel, a narrow passageway in the wrist. This nerve is responsible for providing sensation to your thumb and most of your fingers. When compressed, it can lead to numbness, tingling, and weakness in the hand and arm, often leading to substantial discomfort and reduced function.


Carpal tunnel syndrome results from compression of the median nerve as it travels through the wrist at the carpal tunnel. This tunnel is comprised of eight small bones, called carpal bones, and a ligament that lays over the top.

The median nerve controls sensations and provides nerve signals to move your thumb and all fingers, except the little one. Hence, when this nerve is compressed, patients might feel tingling, numbness, and weakness in the affected hand and arm.

Causes of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

The underlying cause of CTS often involves a combination of factors. These may include:

Repetitive Motions:

Activities that involve fine, repetitive hand movements, such as typing, can cause inflammation in the tendons, leading to nerve compression.

Anatomical Factors:

A wrist fracture or dislocation, or arthritis can alter the space within the carpal tunnel and cause pressure on the median nerve.

Medical Conditions:

Conditions such as diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, and thyroid gland imbalance can contribute to the development of CTS.

Symptoms of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

Common symptoms of CTS include:

- Numbness, tingling, or pain in the fingers or hand, often in the thumb, index, middle, and ring fingers.

- Weakness in the hand, making it difficult to grasp small objects or perform tasks.

- Feeling of 'pins and needles' or swelling, even if there's no visible swelling.

- Symptoms often first appear during the night.

Diagnosis of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

Diagnosis of CTS generally involves:

- Physical Examination: The doctor may check for tenderness, swelling, and any visible changes in your wrist and hand.

- Nerve Conduction Study: This test measures the speed of electrical impulses in your median nerve.

- Electromyogram: This test measures the tiny electrical discharges produced in muscles and can help determine if muscle damage has occurred.

- Ultrasound or MRI: These imaging tests can provide a detailed view of your wrist to check for abnormalities.

Precautions for Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

Preventing or minimizing the impact of CTS can be achieved by:

- Avoiding repetitive hand motions or taking regular breaks when doing this kind of work.

- Using correct posture and wrist position. Working with your hands below your heart level can reduce the pressure on your wrist.

- Keeping your hands warm. You're more likely to develop hand pain and stiffness if you work in a cold environment.

- Maintaining a healthy lifestyle, including regular exercise and a balanced diet, which can contribute to overall nerve health.

Treatment of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome in India's Top Hospitals

In India's top hospitals, a multi-faceted approach is used to treat CTS:

Splinting or Bracing:

This is the most common method used to treat CTS, with the splint worn usually at night.


Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) can help reduce inflammation and pain. Steroid injections are also used in more severe cases.


Stretching and strengthening exercises can be beneficial in people with mild to moderate symptoms.


This option is considered if symptoms are severe or do not improve with other treatments. The surgery aims to relieve pressure on the median nerve by cutting the ligament pressing on the nerve.


In conclusion, Carpal Tunnel Syndrome is a common but manageable condition. With an understanding of the causes, symptoms, and treatment options, individuals can take the necessary steps to prevent and manage this condition effectively. Awareness and early diagnosis are key to ensuring the best possible outcomes.

Frequently Asked Questions

Mild CTS can sometimes resolve on its own with rest and avoidance of activities that worsen the symptoms.

Yes, certain exercises can help improve the symptoms of CTS by strengthening the muscles and improving flexibility in the hand and wrist.

Not always. CTS can often be relieved with treatment, and without long-term damage. However, if untreated, CTS can lead to permanent nerve and muscle damage.

Yes, CTS often affects both hands, although it can be worse in one hand than the other.

Yes, professions involving repetitive hand motions, like data entry or assembly line work, are more likely to cause CTS.

Yes, hormonal changes during pregnancy can cause fluid retention and swelling that can compress the median nerve, leading to CTS.

Yes, people with diabetes are at higher risk of CTS due to the nerve damage caused by their condition.

Severe cases of CTS that do not respond to other treatments may require surgery to relieve pressure on the median nerve.

Some natural remedies such as yoga, hand and wrist exercises, and acupuncture may provide relief for some people, although their effectiveness varies.

While it's possible, CTS is much less common in children than in adults.

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