Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
Carpal Tunnel Syndrome (CTS) is a painful condition caused by pressure on the median nerve, one of three main nerves passing from the arm to the hand. The median nerve passes through the wrist, which consists of eight small bones that form a "tunnel". The tunnel narrows, due to swelling of the protective sheaths around the wrist tendons, resulting in pressure on the sensitive median nerve. Symptoms of CTS develop gradually. The first signs are numbness and tingling, or pain in the palm, thumb, index, middle and ring fingers. The pain often wakes up people at night, when symptoms can be the most severe. The pain also occurs with vigorous hand activity. As CTS worsens, hands get weak, lose muscle control, and can, after years without treatment, become crippled. CTS is caused by repetitive hand, finger or wrist movements. Other causes include hormonal factors related to menstruation or pregnancy, thyroid disease, Lyme disease, diabetes and rheumatiod arthritis.