Carpal tunnel syndrome is a condition that can cause numbness and tingling in the hands and fingers. In more severe cases, it can interfere with the function as well. The median nerve passes through the wrist and goes to the thumb and first three fingers of each hand from there. The channel through which this nerve passes is called the carpal tunnel. If it becomes inflamed, it can put pressure on the nerve and lead to problems that are known as carpal tunnel syndrome.
Carpal tunnel syndrome usually affects the hand and fingers primarily, but it can sometimes be felt in the part of the arm between the wrist and elbow as well. Symptoms include numbness, tingling and pain. Often, these symptoms are felt at night and can progress to the point of interfering with sleep. The disorder can also reach the point of being felt during the day. It can reach a level at which it decreases hand and finger strength and makes tasks like gripping objects more difficult.
One of the main causes of carpal tunnel syndrome is repetitive motion. Individuals who have jobs that require the same hand motion over and over throughout the work day have a greater chance of developing the disorder. This happens because there is insufficient time for recovery since the same movements are repeated with each task. Certain illnesses can put a person at an increased risk of developing carpal tunnel syndrome as well. Diabetes and rheumatoid arthritis are two of the most common ones.
During the early stages of carpal tunnel syndrome, we may recommend some stretching and other exercises that will help. At times, a wrist support may be recommended to immobilize the hand and wrist during times of repetitive activity or at night. We may also use certain chiropractic techniques. The intent is to take the pressure off the nerves and eliminate the symptoms.
If it is possible to discontinue the repetitive activities that may be contributing to the problem, you should do so. Keep in mind that if the discomfort is felt in the little finger, the source of the problem may be something else. The nerves that run to the little finger do not run through the carpal tunnel.