The word “Carpal” has been derived from the Greek word “Karpos” meaning of which is wrist. The wrist is a joint between forearm and the hand. It is surrounded by a fibrous tissue band that supports the joint to function normally. There is a tight space found between the wrist bone and this band of fibrous tissue which is called the carpal tunnel. The median nerve that is responsible for receiving sensations from the three fingers of the hand - thumb, index and middle fingers , passes through this carpal tunnel. Hence, whenever any swelling or irritation occurs in the tissue within carpal tunnel the median nerve gets interrupted. The median nerve becomes irritated as a result of which the three fingers connected with it experience tingling sensation and numbness. This condition has been defined clinically as the Carpal Tunnel Syndrome.
There has been no specific reason found so far as the cause of this syndrome. However, it is found that most of the patients suffer from this condition whenever an extreme pressure is felt on the median nerve of the wrist. Also there are certain common conditions which are known as the causes of this syndrome. The list of these conditions include hypothyroidism, pregnancy, obesity, various sorts of trauma, diabetes etc. Additionally, when some abnormal substances get deposited inside or around the carpal tunnel due to some rare diseases like Multiple Myeloma, Sarcoidosis, Leukemia, Amyloidosis, it causes irritation to the median nerve at the wrist joint.
At the very initial stage of this irritation patients experience numbness and tingling sensation in the hand and that too especially at night. Fingers that are associated with the median nerve are likely to get the tingling followed by burning sensation and cramps that tend to make the wrists too weak to get hold of an object. During the night time the condition aggravates due to fluid accumulation around the hand and wrist while sleeping or lying on the bed. Some patients suffering from this syndrome also complaint about occasional shooting pain in the forearm. On the other hand those who are chronic patients of this syndrome can also experience atrophy of hand muscles of the thumb and in or around the hand palms.