Question: I have tingling and numbness in my hand. Could it be carpal tunnel syndrome?
Answer: This might indicate carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS). With CTS, your hand and wrist tingle from pressure on the median nerve that runs through a narrow passage from your forearm into your hand.
In addition to numbness, CTS may also weaken your hand or send a sharp pain shooting up your arm. These symptoms often first appear at night but can eventually occur during the day, too.
CTS is three times more common in women than men. Continuous pinching or gripping with a bent wrist boosts the risk for CTS. But, CTS can also result from retaining fluid during pregnancy or menopause. Other possible causes of CTS include wrist sprains or fractures, rheumatoid arthritis and thyroid problems.
If you suspect CTS, see your doctor. Treatment can help prevent permanent nerve damage. Initial treatment typically involves resting your wrist in a splint, which helps prevent further damage from twisting or bending. Whenever possible, avoid prolonged or excessive bending of your wrist. If these measures don’t help, your doctor might recommend further treatment.
If symptoms often come back or last for six months or more, carpal tunnel release surgery may be your best bet. During this common outpatient procedure under local anesthesia, a surgeon cuts the band of tissue around the wrist to reduce nerve pressure.