Carpal Tunnel Syndrome (CTS) is caused by constriction of the median nerve at the wrist as it runs through a tight tunnel along with many tendons. When the tissue in the tunnel swells—usually without an obvious cause—the nerve is pinched by the pressure created. Pressure on the nerve can also be created when the wrist is in a position of extreme bending or extending. Symptoms of CTS are most common when sleeping and often occur during pregnancy or at the beginning of menopause.
Carpal tunnel symptoms can vary, and individuals may experience them differently. For example, one might experience:
- an irritating and painful sensation in the palm and fingers
- a swollen ‘thick’ feeling in the hand
- pain radiating up the arm
- reduced hand strength
- clumsiness when handling small objects
Diagnosis of CTS is based on the patient's complaints and a physical examination is usually confirmed by an electrical muscle examination (EMG).
Wearing a wrist brace while sleeping usually reduces symptoms.