Common Carpal Tunnel Syndrome Causes | Symptoms and Diagnosis

Carpal tunnel syndrome or median nerve compression as called is a condition that occurs due to the compression of nerves of the hand.

Although Carpal tunnel syndrome causes are not known by researchers yet. But anything that causes pressure on the median nerve may be one of the carpal tunnel syndrome causes.

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What is Carpal tunnel syndrome?

CTS or carpal tunnel syndrome is a common nerve case that causes pain and tingling due to compression of the median nerve. This condition may occur to anyone but usually attacks adults, especially women.

This median nerve has two functions in the hand:

- Sensation function as it has a passageway (carpal tunnel) in the wrist from the forearm to the palm providing a sensation to the thumb, index, and middle fingers except the little finger.

- Motor function as it sends nerve signals to the muscles of the thumb base for movement.

 What are the Carpal Tunnel Syndrome causes?

Carpal Tunnel Syndrome causes may be linked with other diseases. So there is no single cause of CTS as researchers say.

All of the carpal tunnel syndrome causes lead to an increase in the pressure of the median nerve such as:



- Rheumatoid arthritis (RA)

RA is an autoimmune disease that affects the form of bones in the wrist causing pressure on the median nerve.

- Diabetes

It causes damage to body nerves by attaching blood sugar to the protein of tendons leading to inflammation of tendons.

-Thyroid dysfunction, Kidney failure, Menopause, Pregnancy, Obesity, High blood pressure

Due to fluid retention, pressure of the carpal tunnel increases causing swelling of the nerves.

- Trauma or wrist fracture

These injuries cause damage to the nerve.

- Medications 

Studies have shown that some drugs such as anastrozole (breast cancer drug) may cause carpal tunnel syndrome.


Women have smaller carpal tunnel than men and due to hormonal imbalance during menopause or pregnancy that leads to fluid retention.


- Vibrating tools

The most common Carpal tunnel syndrome causes are environmental, such as working with tools that need frequent movement of the wrist or vibrating tools for a long time that may harm the median nerve, especially in cold weather.

- Computer use

Many studies have proved that there is a link between Carpal tunnel syndrome and computer use.

leaning on the wrist by mouse use for long periods may lead to carpal tunnel syndrome due to incorrect position of the wrist.

So Carpal tunnel syndrome causes are different but sometimes carpal tunnel syndrome occurs without any previous reason.

Symptoms of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome



Needles or electric shock-like feeling in fingers (except little finger), hand and pain may reach the arm.

Weakness of muscles

Muscle weakness leads to difficulty in holding objects.

Swollen and cold fingers

These symptoms appear during the day clearly while holding objects such as phones or driving and may disrupt sleep.

If the tingling feeling exists for a long time, (shaking hands) is a relieving method for many people.

Diagnosis of carpal tunnel syndrome

The Physician checks the medical history of the patient to determine the Carpal tunnel syndrome causes followed by a physical exam.

Electrodiagnostic tests may be recommended which stimulate nerves and muscles to see the function of the hand.

When to see a doctor as a CTS patient

You must see a doctor if symptoms affect your daily routine and activities, especially your sleep cycle.

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Treatment of Carpal tunnel syndrome

After determining the Carpal tunnel syndrome causes, the physician decides the treatment course according to factors such as:

- Age

- Condition of wrist 

- Tolerance to specific medications and therapies

Treatment  is divided into medical and physical treatments:

Medical treatment

- Putting a hand in a splint to protect the wrist and decrease compression of nerves.

- Steroid medications to reduce inflammation and swelling by oral or injection route.

- Painkiller medication also helps in reducing pain such as paracetamol or ibuprofen.

- Surgery of carpal tunnel syndrome

It is the last option of treatment if other methods fail to help. Surgery of carpal tunnel syndrome has two types. local or general anesthesia could be used in both types.

Open surgery

Taking a local or general injection in the wrist to numb the area. A small cut in the hand is made to remove the carpal tunnel from the wrist.

Endoscopic surgery

Like open surgery, local or general anesthesia can be used.

Using a thin long rod attached to the camera and light to help the surgeon see the area of the carpal tunnel then cut the carpal tunnel.

The wrist is put into a splint for two weeks to prevent it from moving.

The operation takes around 20 minutes but it is recommended to wait at least a month after the operation to do the usual activities in a normal way.

Physical Treatment

- Stretching exercises of the wrist and hand are recommended as a preventive method to increase flexibility.

However, it must be done under the supervision of a therapist as it may harm the wrist.

Risk factors of carpal tunnel syndrome

There are many people at risk of Carpal tunnel syndrome causes such as:

- 45-60 females

- Overweight people

- Pregnant 

- Arthritis people

How to prevent carpal tunnel syndrome?

The main goal is to relieve pressure on the hand and wrist. So following these tips would help in preventing carpal tunnel syndrome.

- Decreasing force by hitting the keyboard gently is recommended.

- Use a soft adapter to relax the grip.

- Relieve the wrist by frequent periods during work.

- Keeping the keyboard at elbow height to keep the middle position.

- Warm hands by wearing gloves in cold weather.

- Keeping a healthy lifestyle protects from chronic diseases such as diabetes and obesity which are one of Carpal tunnel syndrome causes.


Carpal tunnel syndrome is a common condition that occurs in adults. There are many Carpal tunnel syndrome causes such as medical and environmental causes. 

Studies have shown that Carpal tunnel syndrome causes are linked with chronic diseases.

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