Carpal Tunnel Syndrome occurs when the nerve in the wrist (median nerve) becomes compressed as it passes through part of the wrist, called the carpal tunnel, toward the hand. The carpal tunnel is a small space made up of bone and tendon, which if inflamed or swollen, can easily impinge on the median nerve running through it, resulting in a distinct set of symptoms.

Symptoms of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

The symptoms of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome occur mostly in the hand and wrist, but may extend to the forearm and shoulder, and is usually worse at night during sleep.

  • Pain and a burning sensation
  • Numbness and tingling in the thumb, index and middle finger where the median nerve runs
  • Weakness in the hand and wrist

Causes of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

Anything that results in prolonged narrowing of the carpal tunnel can result in Carpal Tunnel Syndrome, including:

  • Dislocation or fracture of the carpal bones
  • Work related overuse, or repetitive strain causing inflammation of the tendons
  • Pregnancy
  • Diabetes
  • Tumours, ganglions, cysts

Treatment and management

Your osteopath can perform an examination to properly diagnose the condition and identify the cause. They may also recommend:

  • Osteopathic treatment of surrounding muscles & joints contributing to the problem
  • Rehabilitation exercises
  • Rest, and if required, immobilisation using a splint
  • Identification of ergonomic factors to eliminate causes of repetitive strain
  • Reducing inflammation with medications or ice
  • Steroid injections to reduce inflammation, or surgical intervention may be recommended in rare cases.

What to avoid

  • Avoid engaging in the activity that may have caused the problem
  • Do not apply heat or heat creams to the affected area
  • Do not self-prescribe massage, stretches or exercises

 

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