What is Carpal Tunnel Syndrome?

Carpal tunnel syndrome is a condition that is caused by the compression of one of the major nerves to the hand; the median nerve. This nerve runs through a narrow passageway through the wrist that only has just enough space for tendons and nerves. If tendons become swollen or thickened, this passageway becomes even smaller and compresses the median nerve. 


Symptoms of this condition can include numbness, tingling, weakness and pain in the hand/fingers (thumb, pointer, middle and ring finger) and arm. Many people find their symptoms to come and go at first and then worsen and become more frequent and persist for longer periods of time. Night time pain is quite common. This is usually because people sleep with their wrists bent or in an awkward position.

Causes of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome 

Carpal tunnel syndrome may be caused by:

  • An injury to the wrist e.g. sprain or fracture
  • Repetitive or overuse activities to the wrist or hand e.g. typing on a key board, writing or using vibrating tools
  • Chronic illnesses/conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis, or diabetes
  • Fluid retention during pregnancy or menopause

However, carpal tunnel syndrome may even happen with no specific incident. Women aged 40 to 60, people who rapidly gain weight and people who use their hands repeatedly during their work or daily life are at higher risk of developing this syndrome.


Treatment of carpal tunnel may include:

  • Wearing a wrist brace during the day and night.
  • Ice.
  • Elevation.
  • Osteopathic manual therapy to release and mobilise tight muscles and joints.
  • Pain killers.
  • Avoiding the activities that have caused this pain. 


During the rehabilitation of carpal tunnel syndrome, your osteopath will provide you with at home exercises to mobilise, strengthen and stabilise your wrist.

Download our patient information sheet on carpal tunnel syndrome

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