What is Carpal Tunnel Syndrome?

It is the pinching of the median nerve as it passes through the carpal tunnel to supply the muscles of half of your hand . The carpal tunnel is made up of bones at the base and soft tissue on the roof in the wrist. Due to certain things, the nerve or the surrounding tendons can swell up. This in turn compresses it causing various symptoms. We don’t know why but Carpal tunnel syndrome is more common in females than males between 40 to 60 years of age.

Picture of hands

Carpal tunnel syndrome causes

  • The most common cause is repetitive strain
    Excessive use of the wrist while doing work, for example typing. This can create swelling or inflammation of the tendons that lie beside the median nerve. As a result the nerve can get compressed

    hands typing on laptop

  • Arthritis
    swelling in the joint or tendons due to Rheumatoid arthritis will lead to nerve compression.

  • Direct inury to the wrist
    In instances where you have fallen or fractured your wrist. There’s a high chance of the nerve getting compressed as it passes through the wrist

  • Obesity or autoimmune diseases
    Being obese or having other chronic diseases predisposes a person.

  • Another common cause is Pregnancy
    This is due to fluid retention during pregnancy.

    Picture of a pregnant woman

Signs of Carpal tunnel syndrome

  • Tingling or pins and needles in your thumb, index and half of your ring finger
    This is because the muscles of half of your hand is supplied by the median nerve

  • Pain in the morning or night pain in the hand

  • Pain or tingling on gripping things.

    This usually goes away on flicking the hand

  • Weakness of the thumb muscles. 
    This will look like the thumb muscles are losing their bulk.

Physiotherapy will definitely treat it as long as the symtpoms are not too severe. I will risk saying that in my opinion it is overdiagnosed by doctors. Most of the cases we see at our clinic are due to compression of the nerve in the neck. Which in turn causes tingling or pins and needles down the arm. Carpal tunnel syndrome is not rare but it’s not as common. This is why you need to see a Physio to rule out other possible scenarios.

We use manual therapy techniques to move the wrirst joint and nerve. This helps in improving the circulation through the wrist and reduce nerve compression. Furthermore we advise on activity modification to reduce the effect of repetitive trauma. Finally strengthening exercises to get those hand muscles gripping again like before!