Is a condition in which there is pressure on the median nerve-the nerve in the wrist that supplies feeling and movement to parts of the hand. It can lead to numbness, tingling, weakness or muscle damage in the hand and fingers.
Carpal tunnel develops slowly. At first, you’re most likely to notice it at night or when you first wake up in the morning. The feeling is similar to the “pins-and-needles” sensation you get when your hand falls asleep. During the day, you may notice pain or tingling when holding things, like a phone or a book, or when driving. Shaking or moving your fingers usually helps.
Women are three times more likely than men to get carpal tunnel syndrome. Certain conditions can also increase your risk. These include:
- Diabetes, gout, hypothyroidism, and rheumatoid arthritis
- Sprain or fracture of the wrist
Researchers tested seven questions on 100 patients with suspected carpal tunnel syndrome. Three of the questions — whether patients have tingling in at least two of the first four fingers, whether symptoms are worse at night or upon awakening, and whether shaking the hand helps — proved to be particularly good at predicting carpal tunnel syndrome. Ninety-seven percent of the patients who answered “yes” to at least two of these three questions later showed abnormalities in their electrodiagnostic test results.