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Carpal Tunnel Syndrome: What Causes Median Nerve Compression?

Carpal Tunnel Syndrome: What Causes Median Nerve Compression?
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Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

median nerve compression


Carpal tunnel syndrome is a common cause of pain in the hands and fingers that occurs when the median nerve is compressed. The median nerve is a nerve that runs from the forearm, through the carpal tunnel in the wrist and into the palm. It is responsible for fine motor function in the hand and when it is compressed, it results in pain and impaired motor function.

What Causes Carpal Tunnel Syndrome?

Some cases of carpal tunnel syndrome have no identifiable cause, but most cases result from an underlying condition or from repetitive overuse of the hands. The following conditions may lead to carpal tunnel:

  • Rheumatoid arthritis
  • Diabetes
  • Hypothyroidism
  • Obesity
  • Charcot-Marie Tooth Syndrome
  • Benign tumors or lipomas
  • Cardiomyopathy
  • Vascular malformation
  • Polyneuropathy
  • Fluid retention
  • Injury to the hand or wrist

Types Of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

There is only one type of carpal tunnel syndrome.

Carpal Tunnel Syndrome Symptoms

  • Tingling or numbness in hands and fingers
  • Pain in hands and fingers
  • Weakness
  • Difficulty using hand or fingers

median nerve compression

Diagnosing Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

Your primary care physician can diagnose carpal tunnel syndrome with a physical examination and assessment of symptoms. They will likely order diagnostic testing to rule out certain underlying causes. They may also order a nerve conduction study to assess whether or not the median nerve is compressed. Diagnostic imaging, such as an x-ray of the hand can reveal injuries that would lead to median nerve compression.

Treating Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

Treating carpal tunnel syndrome conservatively consists of the patient taking medications like nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs or corticosteroids to alleviate the pain. They may also try splinting the wrist to reduce compression of the median nerve, More moderate treatment would require surgery to relieve the compression of the median nerve.

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