Carpal tunnel syndrome: what it is, causes, symptoms and treatment

Carpal tunnel syndrome arises due to compression of the median nerve, which passes through the wrist and innervates the palm of the hand, which can cause tingling and the sensation of needles in the thumb, index or middle finger.

Generally, carpal tunnel syndrome worsens over time since it arises, and it gets worse especially at night.

The treatment of carpal tunnel syndrome can be done with analgesic and anti-inflammatory drugs, physical therapy and, in some cases, it may be necessary to have surgery for the symptoms to disappear completely.

What symptoms

The main symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome include:

  • Tingling or pricking sensation in the hand;
  • Swelling in fingers and / or hand;
  • Weakness and difficulty in holding objects;
  • Wrist pain, especially at night;
  • Difficulty in differentiating heat from cold.

These symptoms can appear only in one hand or both and are usually more intense at night. If the person identifies some of these symptoms, he or she should consult an orthopedist to assess the problem and initiate appropriate treatment.

Possible causes

The characteristic pain of carpal tunnel syndrome results from pressure on the wrist and the median nerve region, due to inflammation, which can be caused by diseases such as obesity, diabetes, thyroid dysfunction, fluid retention, high blood pressure, diseases autoimmune or wrist injuries, such as fracture or dislocation, for example.

In addition, repeated movements with the hand and / or the wrist can also lead to the occurrence of this syndrome.

How the treatment is done

Generally, the treatment for carpal tunnel syndrome consists of the use of a wrist band and administration of analgesic and anti-inflammatory drugs, for the relief of pain and pressure:

  • Wristband: it is a medical device that serves to immobilize the wrist, and that can also be used during the night, which helps to reduce the tingling sensation and pain;
  • Anti-inflammatory analgesic drugs: such as ibuprofen, which reduce local inflammation, relieving pain caused by the syndrome;
  • Corticosteroid injections: which are administered in the carpal tunnel region, to reduce swelling and pressure on the median nerve.

In addition, the doctor may also recommend physical therapy to complement other treatments. In cases where carpal tunnel syndrome is caused by diseases, such as rheumatoid arthritis, it is important to start the appropriate treatment for this problem in order to completely eliminate the symptoms.

Surgery for carpal tunnel syndrome is usually only done in more severe cases, when it is not possible to relieve symptoms with other treatments. So, during surgery, the doctor cuts the ligament that is putting pressure on the median nerve, resolving the symptoms. Learn about surgery for carpal tunnel syndrome.

See more tips to treat this syndrome in the following video:

Home treatment

A good way to relieve the symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome is to apply a hot water bag over the wrist for 10 minutes and then do stretching exercises by stretching the arm and bending the wrist to one side and the other, 10 times.

At the end, apply a cold water bag for another 10 minutes and repeat the process, up to 2 times a day.