Carpal Tunnel Syndrome


What is it ? Causes ?

Carpal tunnel syndrome  (CTS) 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. This pinched nerve in your wrist leads to numbness, tingling, weakness, or muscle damage in the hand and fingers.

A number of factors can contribute to carpal tunnel syndrome, including the anatomy of your wrist, certain underlying health problems and possibly patterns of hand use : as repetitive manipulations for an experiment or writing a PhD thesis.


Symptoms usually start gradually, with frequent burning, tingling, or itching numbness in the palm of the hand and the fingers, especially the thumb and the index and middle fingers.

Some  tunnel sufferers say their fingers feel useless and swollen, even though little or no swelling is apparent. The symptoms often first appear in one or both hands during the night, since many people sleep with flexed wrists.

A PhD student with carpal tunnel syndrome may wake up feeling the need to “shake out” the hand or wrist. As symptoms worsen, he might feel tingling during the day. Decreased grip strength may make it difficult to form a fist, grasp small objects, or perform other manual tasks. In chronic and/or untreated cases, the muscles at the base of the thumb may waste away. Some unlucky PhD students are unable to tell between hot and cold by touch.


Mild symptoms usually can be treated with home care. The sooner,the better; your chances of stopping symptoms and preventing long-term damage to the nerve depend on when you start your treatment.

You can do a few things to help your hand and wrist feel better:

  • Pause (or stop if necessary) activities that cause numbness and pain. Rest your wrist longer between activities.
  • Ice your wrist (easier for “lab” PhD students) for 10 to 15 minutes 1 or 2 times an hour. Try taking nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) to relieve pain and reduce swelling.
  • Wear a wrist splint at night to keep your wrist in a neutral position. This takes pressure off your median nerve. Your wrist is in a neutral position when it is straight or only slightly bent. Holding a glass of water is an example of your wrist in a neutral position.


For more information / if your case is really bad :



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