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Carpal tunnel is a condition that can affect both a person’s hand and arm. The tunnel is the area in which the median nerve passes. In cases of carpal tunnel, the nerve becomes pinched and symptoms follow because the brain cannot get partial or full messages to the nerves. The tunnel is located on each wrist. The median nerve runs from the palm of the hand up through part of the arm. The tunnel is a small pass-through at the wrist of the palm side of the hand. As the nerve experiences compression, different symptoms may develop. A person may experience numbness or tingling in the hand or arm. Difficulty maintaining a grasp on objects can occur. Sometimes pain runs along the hand and arm. Swelling may occur, but is not necessarily as a factor to determine carpal tunnel. A physician diagnoses carpal tunnel by conducting testing on the nerves that run through the tunnel. Early treatments include exercises for the wrist or shots of cortisone in the wrist. A person may be told to take anti-inflammatory medications to relieve pain caused by inflammation. If non-invasive measures fail to provide relief from the symptoms, and the symptoms become more severe, the doctor may recommend surgery. The surgery is conducted as an outpatient procedure. The doctor makes a small incision into the wrist at the base of the palm. The carpal ligament is cut allowing for more room in the tunnel. Carpal tunnel can be caused by falling on one’s wrist, overworking the hand in a common position, arthritis, or accidents. The earlier treatment begins, the better results a person has in addressing carpal tunnel and not having permanent nerve damage.
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