Carpal tunnel syndrome is a painful progressive condition caused by compression of a key nerve in the wrist. It occurs when the median nerve, which runs from the forearm into the hand, becomes pressed or squeezed at the wrist. Symptoms usually start gradually, with pain, weakness, or numbness in the hand and wrist, radiating up the arm. As symptoms worsen, people might feel tingling during the day, and decreased grip strength may make it difficult to form a fist, grasp small objects, or perform other manual tasks. The risk of developing carpal tunnel syndrome is especially common in those performing repetitive tasks such as those working at a computer or assembly line work.
In some cases no direct cause of the syndrome can be identified. Carpal Tunnel Syndrome is often accompanied by a “double crush syndrome” where the nerve is damaged or ”pinching” along its path from the neck, shoulder, and forearm into the wrist. The reasoning behind this ”double crush syndrome” is that once the nerve is damaged at the wrist it becomes more suseptible to injury elsewhere. Often times, the initial injury does not occur at the wrist but higher up at the neck. It is important that the nerve be examined along its entire path in order to properly determine the correct treatment plan. Addressing the damage at the wrist only (ie: carpal tunnel surgery) can be short sited and lead to poor long term outcomes.