Carpal Tunnel Syndrome: Brief Version

What is carpal tunnel syndrome?

Carpal tunnel syndrome is a painful problem of the wrist, hand, and fingers. It is very common.

What is the cause?

The pain is caused by pressure on a nerve inside your wrist.

People who use their hands and wrists in the same way a lot of the time can get this problem. For example, carpenters and typists often have this problem.

Carpal tunnel syndrome can also be caused by a wrist injury or problems like diabetes or arthritis. Some women have it during pregnancy.

What are the symptoms?

Symptoms may include:

  • Pain in your hand or wrist. It may hurt the most when you use your hand. You may have more pain at night.
  • Numbness or tingling in your hands and wrists
  • Weak thumb
  • Hands that are more sensitive to cold
  • Dropping things more often

How is it treated?

Your healthcare provider may tell you to:

  • Rest your hands more often.
  • Change the way you use your hands.
  • Wear a wrist splint.
  • Do wrist exercises.

Your provider may also give you medicine to help the swelling and pain. Sometimes you may need surgery.

If you have a disease that is causing the problem, like arthritis, treating the disease may help your symptoms.

How can I take care of myself?

Do what your healthcare provider says. You can also:

  • Put your arm up on pillows when you sit or lie down.
  • Use different tools or use your other hand.
  • Try not to use your hand too much.
  • Try not to bend your wrists.

How can I help prevent carpal tunnel syndrome?

  • Make sure that your hands and wrist are comfortable when you work.
  • Take regular breaks.
  • Don’t rest your wrists on hard surfaces for a long time.
Developed by RelayHealth.
Adult Advisor 2015.1 published by RelayHealth.
Last modified: 2014-10-06
Last reviewed: 2014-10-06
This content is reviewed periodically and is subject to change as new health information becomes available. The information is intended to inform and educate and is not a replacement for medical evaluation, advice, diagnosis or treatment by a healthcare professional.
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