The carpal tunnel refers to the narrow passageway which is located underneath a ligament on the wrist area. There are several tendons and nerves that surround this passageway, but the main nerve found in this part of the body is the median nerve. This type of nerve extends down from the forearm into the wrist.
In some cases, the median nerve becomes irritated and may lead to pain along the passageway. This condition is called the carpal tunnel syndrome, which usually occurs when the tendons gets inflamed. When the tendons along the carpal tunnel becomes swollen, the passageway becomes narrower and may compress the median nerve.
Generally, the carpal tunnel syndrome results from an irritated median nerve that is due to the repetitive movements of the wrist area. It can also be the case that a person is born with a narrower carpal tunnel, that even a slight compression may lead to the nerve being pressed down and becoming irritated.
The primary purpose of the median nerve is to control the movement and allow all the fingers, excluding the little finger, to feel sensations. Some of the symptoms that a person with carpal tunnel syndrome may experience, include numbness, burning feeling, and tingling sensations in the affected area. These symptoms are typically felt in the fingers, wrist, and along the forearm. In severe cases of carpal tunnel syndrome, the person may also experience the inability to close his fist or a decrease in grip strength.
It is possible to treat carpal tunnel syndrome, but the treatment plan will depend on the severity and the duration of the symptoms. During the early stages of carpal tunnel syndrome, the inflammation can be reduced by allowing the wrist to rest for about two weeks and by taking anti-infammatory medications. On the other hand, for more severse cases, corticosteroids may be prescribed to ease the inflammation, or the carpal tunnel may also be surgically enlarged to decompress the affected nerve. It is important to undergo treatment because the muscle may deteriorate over time and may also cause the hand and fingers to feel less.