Carpal Tunnel Syndrome belongs to a group of conditions called “entrapment syndromes”. Carpal Tunnel Syndrome is the most common of the nerve entrapment syndromes. Nerves may become trapped in various parts of the body. The nerves travel through small spaces between bones and supporting bands called ligaments. Swelling in these tight spaces puts pressure on nerves, which results in numbness and weakness. The most common entrapment is at the wrist or carpal bones results in hand numbness.
There may be nerve entrapment at the neck called Thoracic Outlet Syndrome, elbow, forearm shin (compartment syndromes) and ankle (Tarsal Tunnel Syndrome).
There may be other conditions causing the swelling, which results in the pressure that is placed on the nerves. These other conditions include Diabetes, Hypothyroidism (under active thyroid), Rheumatoid Arthritis, trauma, Amyloidosis (a rare condition associated with blood protein abnormalities). A medical history, physical examination, and laboratory testing should be carried out to exclude these conditions.
People of all ages experience nerve entrapments.
Treatment in many is simple. There is a technique called nerve mobilization exercise. As you can imagine, your muscles move inside of you. Your nerves also move. Nerve mobilization exercise instruction enables you to “mobilize ” the trapped nerve; amazingly, this is the end of the problem in early cases that are not too advanced. Splinting, steroid injection and lastly surgical release of the nerve entrapment may be used. Early surgery is needed when there is beginning entrapment of motor nerves, which causes thumb weakness, and loss of muscle bulk at the base of the thumb. Most people do not require surgery.