Peripheral Nerve Conditions

What is carpal tunnel syndrome?

Carpal tunnel syndrome or compression is a condition in which pressure bears down on the median nerve extending from the forearm to your palm. It is called ‘carpal tunnel syndrome’ because this nerve passes through a passage under the transverse carpal ligament at your wrist area, a length known as the carpal tunnel.

Sometimes, tissue in this area can swell or thicken, which compresses your median nerve.

Carpal tunnel syndrome is a common medical condition that can result from injury, repetitive hand movement and health conditions such as thyroid imbalances, arthritis and diabetes. It can also be hereditary.

Wrist Pain Carpal Tunnel Syndrome | Dr Raj Reddy | Neurosurgeon | Sydney, Australia

What are symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome?

You may experience symptoms such as:

  • pain, tingling and numbness in your fingers
  • pain or tingling that moves up your forearms
  • shock sensations
  • hand weakness

How is carpal tunnel syndrome treated?

A neurosurgeon can perform a physical examination and conduct tests and scans to make a diagnosis.

If someone receives an early diagnosis, a neurosurgeon may provide non-surgical treatment such as a splint, non-inflammatory medicine such as aspirin and hand exercises.

If these treatments do not improve carpal tunnel syndrome, a neurosurgeon can perform an operation known as a carpal tunnel decompression to stop the nerve from being squeezed.

 

Images by Injury Map under a Creative Commons license.


Sources

  1. Carlson H, Colbert A, Frydl J, Arnall E, Elliot M, Carlson N: Current options for nonsurgical management of carpal tunnel syndrome. International journal of clinical rheumatology 5:129, 2010.
  2. Chesterton LS, Blagojevic-Bucknall M, Burton C, Dziedzic KS, Davenport G, Jowett SM, et al: The clinical and cost-effectiveness of corticosteroid injection versus night splints for carpal tunnel syndrome (INSTINCTS trial): an open-label, parallel group, randomised controlled trial. The Lancet 392:1423-1433, 2018.
  3. Sevy JO, Varacallo M. Carpal Tunnel Syndrome. [Updated 2020 Mar 30]. In: StatPearls [Internet]. Treasure Island (FL): StatPearls Publishing; 2020 Jan-. Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK448179/.