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What is Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

Causes, Related Symptoms, and Prevention of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

Carpal Tunnel Syndrome (CTS, 腕管綜合症) is a common condition that can cause tingling, numbness, and discomfort in your hand and arm. It occurs when one of the major nerves to the hand — the median nerve — is squeezed or compressed as it travels through the wrist. In this comprehensive guide, we'll explore what carpal tunnel syndrome is, how to recognize its symptoms, and the various treatment options available to those affected. 

What is Carpal Tunnel Syndrome?    

Carpal Tunnel Syndrome is a condition that results from pressure on the median nerve as it passes through a narrow passageway in the wrist called the carpal tunnel. This pressure can be due to swelling, anatomical differences, or certain health conditions that alter the space within the tunnel. The carpal tunnel itself is surrounded by bones and the Transverse Carpal Ligament, which can contribute to the compression of the nerve. Individuals with CTS may experience tingling in the wrist, wrist pain and numbness, and other uncomfortable sensations.

 What risk factors predisposes for development of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome (CTS)? 

The following medical conditions can increase the risk of CTS: 

  • Obesity 
  • Pregnancy 
  • Menopause 
  • Kidney failure 
  • Congestive heart failure 
  • Diabetes 
  • Hypothyroidism 
  • Acromegaly 
  • Wrist arthrosis, inflammatory arthritis, and infectious arthritis 

Also, occupations related to frequent computer use, use of vibrating equipment like drills and jackhammers or repetitive movements pose an elevated risk of CTS. 

How Do I Know If I Have Carpal Tunnel Syndrome (CTS)? 

Recognizing the symptoms of CTS is the first step in getting appropriate treatment. Common signs include: 

  • Numbness or Tingling: Often in the thumb, index, middle, or ring fingers, but not usually the little finger. 
  • Weakness: A tendency to drop objects may indicate weakness in the hand muscles. 
  • Pain: Discomfort can extend from the wrist up the arm or down into the palm or fingers. 

If you experience these symptoms regularly, especially at night or when waking up, you may have carpal tunnel syndrome and should consult a medical professional for a diagnosis. 

Carpal Tunnel Syndrome Medication    

Several medications can help manage the pain and inflammation associated with carpal tunnel syndrome: 

  • Nonsteroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs (NSAIDs): Over-the-counter pain relievers like ibuprofen can offer temporary relief from the discomfort of CTS. 
  • Corticosteroids: Injected or oral corticosteroids can reduce inflammation and relieve pressure on the median nerve. 
  • While these medications can alleviate symptoms, they do not treat the underlying cause of CTS. Therefore, if there are identified medical or occupational risk factors like the ones listed above, these need to be properly addressed for more effective treatment and outcome and less chance of recurrence. 

Carpal Tunnel Syndrome Self-Care       

Self-care measures are an important aspect of managing carpal tunnel syndrome. Here are some strategies: 

  • Wrist Splints: Wearing a wrist splint at night keeps your wrist in a neutral position, which can reduce nighttime symptoms of tingling and numbness. Splinting is the first choice of treatment for CTS. 
  • Hand and Wrist Exercises: Stretching and strengthening exercises for the hand and wrist can improve symptoms and prevent further injury. 
  • Modify Daily Activities: Take frequent breaks, maintain proper posture, and avoid activities that worsen symptoms. 

Carpal Tunnel Treatment        

Beyond medications and self-care, there are other treatments for carpal tunnel syndrome:

  • Physical Therapy: A physical therapist can guide you through exercises and provide other treatments to alleviate symptoms. 
  • Surgery: Carpal tunnel release surgery is an option for severe cases or when conservative treatments and medications fail to provide relief. 

How to Relieve Carpal Tunnel Pain         

In addition to the aforementioned treatments, here are some practical tips for relieving carpal tunnel pain: 

  • Cold Packs: Applying cold packs can help reduce wrist swelling. 
  • Ergonomic Adjustments: Use ergonomic tools and adjust your workstation to keep your wrist in a natural position. 
  • Activity Modification: Limit activities that cause wrist pain and numbness and use your whole hand or arm instead of just your wrist when possible. 


Carpal tunnel syndrome can be a disruptive, painful and recurrent or chronic condition, but with the right knowledge and strategies, it's possible to manage the symptoms and improve your quality of life. From medication and self-care to professional treatments, there are multiple paths to relief. If you suspect you have CTS, don't hesitate to seek medical advice and start on the road to recovery. Remember, taking care of your wrists is taking care of your ability to interact with the world around you. 

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  1. NHS. Carpal tunnel syndrome. 19 Feb 2024 Retrieved from  
  2. Mayo Clinic. Carpal tunnel syndrome. 19 Feb 2024 Retrieved from  
  3. WebMD. Carpal tunnel syndrome. 19 Feb 2024 Retrieved from  

Please note that all medical articles featured on our website have been reviewed by qualified healthcare doctors. The articles are for general information only and are not medical opinions nor should the contents be used to replace the need for a personal consultation with a qualified medical professional on the reader's medical condition.