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Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

Carpal tunnel syndrome is a common cause of pain/ numbness/ pins and needles in the hand. Pain can range from mild to severe and can last long periods.

What is Carpal Tunnel Syndrome?


The carpal tunnel is a passage created by your forearm bones on one side and a band of connective tissue on the other. Multiple tendons pass through this alongside your ‘median nerve’. This nerve supplies sensation to your thumb, index, middle and part of your ring finger. If for any reason this space is reduced (thickened tissues, fluid, trauma etc) then this nerve can be compressed - causing pain and altered sensation in the above fingers.

Do I have Carpal Tunnel Syndrome?


If you have these symptoms then you may have carpal tunnel syndrome. Pain is usually worse at night or when driving/holding a telephone (though not always). A doctor or physiotherapist should be able to diagnose this with some simple tests- further investigation can always be organised if unsure.

Treatment


There is evidence a splint worn at night can help with pain in the short term. Some cases of carpal tunnel syndrome settle down given time but others don’t. No hands on treatment or exercise has been shown to help this pain. If it is not resolving with rest and a splint then we recommend you have a discussion with your doctor to see whether steroid injection or a referral to an orthopaedic surgeon would be the next step.

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