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What Is Carpal Tunnel Syndrome?

Last updated 3 years ago

Carpal tunnel syndrome is an increasingly common condition that is characterized by numbness or tingling in the wrist that is accompanied by sharp, shooting pain. With more and more people working desk jobs where they are typing for several hours each day, carpal tunnel has become a frequent workplace injury. It occurs when the median nerve in the wrist is pressed or squeezed because of inflammation in the carpal tunnel, a narrow passageway of bones and ligaments at the base of the hand. Read on for a more detailed look at this condition to better understand what can be done to ease the pain it causes.


Carpal tunnel syndrome is a progressive condition that may begin with mild symptoms that get worse over time. Swelling and tingling can occur in the hand and fingers as pain begins to develop in the wrist. At first symptoms may be worst at night, though they can persist through the day as the condition worsens. Pain and numbness caused by carpal tunnel may be temporarily relieved when the hand or wrist is shaken out.


While symptoms are caused by the median nerve, the actual damage of carpal tunnel syndrome tends to take place in the tendons and ligaments surrounding the nerve. This type of damage is often caused by pressure in the wrist from repetitive tasks involving fine motor skills of the hands and fingers.


A physical examination can indicate carpal tunnel syndrome early on, but an X-ray may be needed to make a definitive diagnosis. It is recommended that patients do not wait to seek care when carpal tunnel syndrome is suspected, because the condition will only get worse over time and pose a risk for damage to the median nerve.


Treatments for carpal tunnel syndrome range from medication and alternative therapies to surgery and physical therapy. Your physician will recommend treatment depending on a number of factors, including the severity of the condition and the effects of carpal tunnel syndrome on grip and muscle control.

For orthopedic care that can address your symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome, visit Northside Hospital in St. Petersburg. Call us at (888) 598-9586 to connect with our Consult-A-Nurse healthcare referral line or visit our website. 


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Disclaimer: The materials provided are intended for informational purposes only. You should contact your doctor for medical advice. Use of and access to this website or other materials do not create a physician-patient relationship. The opinions expressed through this website are the opinions of the individual author and may not reflect the opinions of the hospital, medical staff, or any individual physician or other healthcare professional.
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