This is a condition affecting the median nerve where it travels through the carpal tunnel, a narrow passageway located on the palm side of your wrist. This tunnel protects the median nerve to your hand and the nine tendons that bend your fingers.
UK General Practice Research Database in 2000, calculated the incidence in males to be 88 per 100 000 and in females to be 193 per 100 000, with new presentations being most frequent at ages 45–54 years in females and 75–84 years in males. JNNP 2003
Compression of the median nerve produces the numbness, tingling and, eventually, hand weakness, affecting the thumb, index and middle fingers.
It can be caused by a number of reasons such as sleeping positions, patterns of hand function/use, your natural anatomy and some underlying health problems.
Sometimes it is not carpal tunnel syndrome but a neck problem- your physiotherapist or nerve conduction studies should be able to diagnose which you have.
A splint to wear at night, help to restore normal function and stretches often help to relieve symptoms alongside mobilisation and soft tissue work.
In some cases people are required to see a consultant to operate to release the nerve in the wrist. The BMJ in 2003 state that ‘Carpal tunnel syndrome is one of the commonest elective clinical conditions presenting to hand surgery departments. Several hundred surgical decompressions are performed by most district general hospitals per year’.