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What is Carpal Tunnel Syndrome?

This is a condition that occurs when the median nerve, which is the nerve that runs from the forearm into the palm of the hand, becomes pressed or squeezed at the wrist. This nerve controls sensations to the palm side of the thumb and fingers (although not the little finger), as well as impulses to some small muscles in the hand that allow the fingers and thumb to move.

The carpal tunnel is a narrow, rigid passageway of ligament and bones at the base of the hand which houses the median nerve and tendons.

Occasionally, thickening from irritated tendons or other swelling can narrow this tunnel and cause the median nerve to become compressed. The result may be a painful sensation, feeling of weakness or numbness in the hand and wrist which appears to radiate up the arm.

While painful sensations in the arm and hand may be cause by other conditions, carpal tunnel syndrome is the most common and widely known of the entrapment neuropathies in which the body's peripheral nerves are compressed or traumatized.

How Do the Symptoms Appear?

The symptoms begin to appear with a weak sensation of burning or tingling in the palm of the hand and fingers and gradually increase over time. While there is rarely any visible swelling of the area, some sufferers claim to experience the sensation of swelling and sometimes an itchy numbness.

Symptoms generally appear fist during the night with one or both hands, although as the severity increases, the symptoms are then apparent during the daytime as well. A decrease in the strength of the grip is also common, especially when trying to grasp small objects.

More detailed information can be found at the website listed below:

Source: National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke