Carpal tunnel syndrome may be the cause of the pain, tingling, numbness, and weakness of the hand that you may be experiencing. The cause of carpal tunnel syndrome is compression of the median nerve as it enters the wrist and hand. The nerve travels through a tight opening along with nine other structures of the hand. The small opening is called the carpal tunnel. When the median nerve becomes compressed, pain, tingling, and numbness can happen. The symptoms are predominantly in the thumb, index, and middle fingers, but can radiate to the forearm. Frequently dropping things and worsening of the symptoms at night are common complaints.
Carpal tunnel syndrome can be associated several things: frequent and repetitive hand movements, pregnancy, obesity, bone spurs, tumors, hypothyroidism, rheumatoid arthritis, and diabetes. Smoking can also worsen carpal tunnel, as it decreases blood flow to the hand. Carpal tunnel syndrome can frequently be relieved without surgery if caught early and treated with proper medical, behavioral, and positional changes. However, for many patients, surgery is the optimal choice. The surgery is done on an outpatient basis and typically lasts less then 30 minutes.