Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
Carpal Tunnel Syndrome is one of the most common nerve compressions. It occurs when the median nerve becomes compressed as it passes through the carpal tunnel in the hand (see diagram). It can occur at any age but is more common in middle aged woman. In most cases there is no identifiable cause but in some cases conditions such as diabetes, rheumatoid, hypothyroidism and pregnancy may be present.
The main symptom is that of altered feeling (numbnesss/tingling) in the fingers of the hand, usually the small finger is not involved. These symptoms may start of mild and intermittent with full recovery in between and can progress to become constant. Often the symptoms are worse at night and aching pain may be a feature both in the hand and forearm. Individuals often shake their hands to obtain relief.
In early cases there may be no physical signs as the nerve compression becomes more severe there may be muscle wasting and weakness.
In the early stages the condition may respond to a night time splint and or a steroid injection . Pregnancy induced carpal tunnel syndrome usually resolves after giving birth. If the condition progresses then surgery will often be required(Carpal Tunnel Release).