More Health:

May 20, 2022

Carpal tunnel syndrome — the causes, symptoms, and treatment options

Adult Health Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

Content sponsored by IBC - Native (195x33)

Purchased - Closeup shot of an unrecognisable businesswoman experiencing hand pain PeopleImages/

Do you ever notice a feeling of numbness or tingling in your thumb and fingers when you’re in bed trying to fall asleep? If you spend a significant portion of your day on a computer or gaming, this could be an early sign of carpal tunnel syndrome.

This condition occurs when the median nerve — which runs from your forearm into the palm of your hand — is compressed at the wrist. The carpal tunnel is at the base of your hand and contains this nerve, which controls some of the muscles in your hand as well as the feeling in your thumb and fingers (particularly the index, middle, and part of the ring finger).

What causes carpal tunnel syndrome?

The immediate cause of carpal tunnel syndrome is pressure on the median nerve, but there are a number of risk factors. Some can’t be controlled; carpal tunnel syndrome, for example, is more common in women. Anatomic factors may also increase the risk of suffering from carpal tunnel syndrome.

What can be controlled are factors related to lifestyle. The use of a computer mouse can contribute to the condition, so it’s important to find one that’s comfortable, and also taking occasional breaks while using one. The same is true of gaming consoles or other devices you might grip tightly; those grips, like a mouse, can put pressure on the nerve.

How does it feel to have carpal tunnel syndrome?

Symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome may be subtle at first and are often felt when you’re drifting off to sleep. Early symptoms include numbness, tingling, burning, cramping, shooting pains, and stiffness in the hand.

As carpal tunnel syndrome gets worse, the symptoms may become more prominent during the day and you may experience similar sensations in your wrist. Over time, you might even have trouble grasping objects, pressing buttons, or tying your shoes.

What are my treatment options?

If carpal tunnel syndrome is diagnosed early enough, you may be able to treat it by doing stretches, taking more frequent breaks, or using over-the-counter pain relief.

There are other effective home remedies, including splinting your hand in the evening to relieve symptoms. Home remedies are all about removing pressure on your median nerve and reducing the swelling in the carpal tunnel (so ice packs help, too!).

If your pain or symptoms become severe, you may opt for a surgical solution. Carpal tunnel release is a very common surgical procedure which involves cutting the ligaments pressing on your median nerve. While the procedure is common, both the endoscopic and open surgery options have recovery time associated with them.

The easiest way to treat carpal tunnel syndrome is to prevent it. In today’s digital-first world, the repetitive hand and wrist movements that put you at risk for carpal tunnel syndrome are increasingly common. Make it a point to control how and when you interface with your devices to maintain a healthy hand for years to come.

Follow us

Health Videos