Symptoms of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome | Causes of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome


February, 2024

Carpal Tunnel Syndrome (CTS)

Carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS) is a medical condition that affects the hand and wrist. It is caused by the compression of the median nerve, which runs through the carpal tunnel in the wrist. The carpal tunnel is a narrow passageway made up of bones and ligaments, and it is located on the palm side of the wrist. The median nerve is responsible for providing sensation to the thumb, index finger, middle finger, and half of the ring finger. It also controls the movement of some of the muscles in the hand. When the median nerve is compressed, it can cause pain, numbness, and weakness in the affected hand.


The symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome can vary from person to person. Some people may experience mild symptoms, while others may have more severe symptoms. The most common symptoms of CTS include:
  • Pain: Pain is the most common symptom of CTS. It is usually felt in the wrist, palm, and fingers. The pain can be sharp or dull and may radiate up the arm.
  • Numbness and tingling: Numbness and tingling are also common symptoms of CTS. They are usually felt in the thumb, index finger, middle finger, and half of the ring finger. The sensation can be described as a pins-and-needles feeling.
  • Weakness: Weakness in the affected hand is another symptom of CTS. It can make it difficult to grip objects or perform tasks that require fine motor skills.
  • Swelling: Swelling in the wrist and hand can occur in some cases of CTS.


There are several factors that can contribute to the development of carpal tunnel syndrome. Some of the most common causes include:
  • Repetitive hand movements: Repetitive hand movements, such as typing, using a computer mouse, or playing an instrument, can put a strain on the wrist and contribute to the development of CTS.
  • Injury: An injury to the wrist, such as a fracture or sprain, can cause swelling and inflammation in the carpal tunnel, which can compress the median nerve.
  • Pregnancy: Pregnant women are more likely to develop CTS due to the hormonal changes that occur during pregnancy.
  • Medical conditions: Certain medical conditions, such as rheumatoid arthritis, diabetes, and hypothyroidism, can increase the risk of developing CTS.


Diagnosis is usually by ruling out a neck issue with an MRI of the cervical spine and performing a nerve conduction study to measure the electrical activity in the median nerve.


The treatment for carpal tunnel syndrome depends on the severity of the symptoms. In mild cases, rest and home remedies may be enough to relieve the symptoms. In more severe cases, surgery may be necessary.
  • Rest and home remedies: Resting the affected hand and wrist can help reduce inflammation and relieve pain. Applying ice to the wrist can also help reduce swelling. Wearing a wrist splint at night can help keep the wrist in a neutral position, which can reduce pressure on the median nerve.
  • Medications: Over-the-counter pain relievers, such as ibuprofen and acetaminophen, can help relieve pain and reduce inflammation.
  • Physical therapy: Physical therapy can help improve strength and flexibility in the affected hand and wrist.
  • Surgery: In severe cases of CTS, surgery may be necessary to relieve pressure on the median nerve. The whole basis of surgery is to  cut the ligament that is compressing the nerve in the front of the wrist and releasing the compressed median nerve  


There are several steps you can take to prevent carpal tunnel syndrome from developing or worsening. Some of these steps include:
  • Take breaks: If you perform repetitive hand movements, such as typing or using a computer mouse, take frequent breaks to rest your hands and wrists.
  • Use proper ergonomics: Make sure your workspace is set up in a way that promotes good posture and reduces strain on your hands and wrists.
  • Stretch: Stretching your hands and wrists can help improve flexibility and reduce the risk of developing CTS.
  • Wear a wrist splint: If you are at risk of developing CTS or have mild symptoms, wearing a wrist splint at night can help keep your wrist in a neutral position and reduce pressure on the median nerve.
In the modern world of computers, constant repetitive actions increase the chances of median nerve compression in the wrist being aware of this simple but sometimes extremely painful problem, does help to find an early cure or control



Dr Arjun Srivatsa

Senior Consultant & Head of the Department of Neurosciences

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