Carpal Tunnel Syndrome: Definition, Causes, Symptoms, Diagnosis and Treatment


Carpal tunnel syndrome causes repeated tingling, numbness and weakness in the affected hand, all due to the pressure of the median nerve of the wrist .

The pressure on the median nerve causes this syndrome. The pressure caused can lead to swelling of the nerves, causing pain.

What are your causes?

There are some causes why this inflammation can occur, among which are:

  • Diabetes.
  • Hypothyroidism
  • Rheumatoid arthritis.
  • The pregnancy.

Repetitive movements, over and over again, especially if the person constantly bends down the wrist, or performing the same wrist movements over and over again can cause inflammation in the nerves of the hand, leading to carpal tunnel syndrome.

What are your symptoms?

  • Pain in the arm, elbow or hand.
  • Weakness in the hand
  • Tingle.
  • Numbness.

Generally, its symptoms are more noticeable in the thumb, middle of the ring finger, the middle finger and the index finger.

In the evening hours some of the symptoms may occur and by shaking the hand you feel relief to all the symptoms.
A clear sign that the person suffers from this syndrome is that they feel pain or discomfort with their fingers, except the little finger, because this has a nerve different from the other fingers.

Diagnosing carpal tunnel syndrome

In the first place, the doctor interrogates the patient about preexisting conditions and diseases, such as hypothyroidism, arthritis or diabetes, as well as if the patient is pregnant.

The doctor also asks the patient what his habits are, if he subjects his wrist to repetitive movements for several days, to know the daily routines that may harm his wrist.

During the physical examination, the doctor tests strength, sensations and appearance on hands, wrists, neck, arms and shoulders.


The doctor will also suggest to the patient:

  • Use a splint on the wrist when sleeping, avoiding pressure on the nerves of the hand.
  • Prescribe non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs.
  • Pause activities that may be damaging the nerves of the wrist.
  • Apply cold compresses and ice on the wrist for short periods of time.

There are greater chances of recovery of the wrist if it starts in time with the treatment, increasing the chances of stopping the symptoms and avoiding further damage to the nerves of the hand.

Some doctors believe that given the severity of the wrist, it is necessary to resort to surgery, so it is also an option. This only happens in extreme cases in which palliative treatments do not relieve the symptoms and the hand does not respond to the treatments for several months.

Some recommendations to take care of the dolls are:

  • Maintaining healthy weight
  • Avoid cigarettes
  • Perform some mild physical activity.
  • Keep wrists straight when writing, without bending them too much.
  • When picking up or taking objects with your hand, do it with your entire hand and not just with your fingers.

Adjust your activities

Carpal tunnel syndrome is often activated when you keep your hand and wrist in the same position for a long time.

It can get worse if you have to keep your wrist flexed up or down, so it is best to keep it in a straight and neutral position. If your work makes it difficult to do, you may want to:

  • Take a break of 10 to 15 minutes every hour and stretch your hands.
  • Talk to your manager to see if you can change your desktop, tools or workstation configuration.
  • Try to alternate which hand you use for your tasks.
  • Use only as much strength as you need. Do not hold tools too much or hit the keyboard.
  • Look at his position. Try not to move your shoulders forward, which triggers a chain reaction that worsens the wrist problems.


Corticosteroids, such as  cortisone , are strong medications that can decrease swelling. Sometimes you can take these medications in the form of pills.

It is also possible for your doctor to administer it as a wrist injection that goes directly to the carpal tunnel. It can temporarily relieve pain and inflammation, but it is not a long-term solution.

Physical and occupational therapy

An occupational or physical therapist can help in several ways. They can give you exercises to stretch and strengthen your hand and wrist muscles.

They can also show you how to change your routine movements in a way that relieves stress on your hands and wrists. That can be especially useful when it comes to tasks related to work or your favorite hobbies.

alternative medicine

Some people with carpal tunnel syndrome are successful with alternative or complementary medicine. Always check with your doctor before trying it. Some options are:

Yoga:  Research shows that it relieves pain and increases grip strength.

Acupuncture:  Again, research has not clearly shown that acupuncture helps with carpal tunnel syndrome, but people in some studies found it helpful.


If other treatments have not improved your symptoms in 6 months, your doctor may suggest a carpal tunnel release surgery. There are two main types. In open surgery, your surgeon makes an opening about 2 inches long that runs from your wrist to your palm.

With endoscopic surgery , you get two smaller openings, and your doctor uses a small camera to guide the operation.

In both surgeries, your doctor cuts the ligament around the carpal tunnel to relieve the pressure of the medial nerve and relieve its symptoms. After the surgery, the ligament comes back together, but there is more room for the nerve to pass.

Both surgeries have similar results. Most of the time, carpal tunnel syndrome heals and does not return. If you have a severe case, surgery may help, but your symptoms may not go away completely.