Carpal tunnel syndrome is a condition whereby a nerve, known as the median nerve which travels down the arm into the hand, is squeezed as it passes through the wrist. The median nerve is responsible for supplying sensation and powering muscles in the hands.
Usual symptoms include tingling and numbness in the hand, mainly over the thumb, index and middle finger, which is where this nerve ends. In severe circumstances, there can be weakness in the hands as the muscles supplied by this nerve loose power.
The symptoms tend to be worse at night, especially when the wrist is bent, which can aggravate the symptoms.
There is not always an obvious cause for carpal tunnel syndrome and the median nerve can be prone to becoming compressed. However, some conditions may increase the likelihood such as pregnancy, diabetes, underactive thyroid gland, arthritis within the wrist joint, and some medications.
Treatment is not always necessary unless your symptoms are particularly troublesome or severe. Often a wrist splint worn at night time or during particular activities that aggravate the symptoms may help to bring relief, and a physiotherapist can advise on this.
Sometimes an operation to release the compression of the median nerve may be needed and in this instance it would be best to see a GP who can provide you with more information about the procedure.