Carpal Tunnel Effects on the Hands

by mrgripeeze on October 19, 2013

Carpal Tunnel Effects on the Hands

Carpal tunnel syndrome is a condition in which the median nerve is squeezed where it passes through the wrist. The median nerve controls some of the muscles that move the thumb; it also carries information back to the brain about sensations in your thumb and fingers.

When the nerve is squeezed it can cause pain or aching, tingling or numbness in the affected hand. Women are more likely than men to develop carpal tunnel syndrome but the condition affects people of all ages.









Carpal tunnel syndrome causes pain, aching, tingling or numbness in either one, or both, of your hands. It tends to come on gradually, over a period of weeks and the symptoms are usually worse in the thumb, index and middle fingers. Sometimes it may feel that your whole hand is affected and you may also have an ache in your forearm.

The symptoms tend to be worse at night and may disturb your sleep but you could also notice it most when you wake up in the morning. Hanging your hand out of bed or shaking it around will often relieve the pain and tingling.

You may not notice the problem at all during the day, though certain activities – such as writing, typing, DIY or housework – can bring on symptoms. However, if the nerve is badly squeezed you may have symptoms throughout the day. Your hand may feel weak, or your fingers numb, or both. You may find that you drop things more often and that activities which require fine finger movements, like writing or sewing, become more difficult.









The median nerve is very sensitive to pressure, and in most cases there isn’t an obvious cause. Some of the possible causes include:

  • arthritis of the wrist, particularly from rheumatoid arthritis, if there’s swelling of the wrist joint or the tendons that run through the carpal tunnel
  • fluid retention – this can affect women during pregnancy or can be related to periods
  • an underactive thyroid gland
  • diabetes
  • a fracture of the wrist leading to narrowing or distortion of the carpal tunnel
  • (rarely) some medications, particularly anastrazole (a treatment for breast cancer)

Your risk of developing carpal tunnel syndrome may be greater if your job places heavy demands on your wrist, or if you use vibrating tools

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