What is carpal tunnel syndrome?
Carpal tunnel syndrome refers to a condition marked by pain, inflammation, and numbness in a small opening of your wrist called the carpal tunnel. It is a condition common to such professionals as teachers, concert pianists, and computer programmers, and is brought about through repetitive movements that cause a buildup of fluids along with inflammation in the carpal tunnel.
Anatomically speaking, the carpal tunnel is the pathway from the palmar side of the forearm to the hand, and compression caused by fluids and swelling can affect the nerves (specifically the median nerve) and blood flow to your hand. Symptoms of this compression can also include tingling, weakness of the wrist, and a dull, aching pain in your thumb and first two fingers.
Factors that can contribute to the development of carpal tunnel syndrome include:
Your doctor will likely prescribe anti-inflammatories, although corticosteroids (which require injection) may be called for in more extreme cases. More severe cases may even require a minor surgery on the ligaments to help alleviate pressure on the median nerve. Differentiation from thoracic outlet syndrome should also be considered.
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