FOX 47 - Health News

Carpal tunnel is a painful condition that can range from numbness in the hands and arms, to severe discomfort.

And if left untreated, can be permanent.

Doctors say carpal tunnel is a syndrome that nearly anyone can develop. It's a tingling sensation caused by pressure on one of the main nerves that runs from your forearm.

"It's called the median nerve," said Dr. Matthew Bliss at St. Mary's Hospital. "It gives you sensation in these three fingers -- your thumb, your pointer fingers, middle finger, and sometimes part of your ring finger."

Tendons and nerves share a confined space in the wrist, and swelling from these tendons can put pressure on the nerve. Doctors still don't know what causes carpal tunnel.

Any repetitive wrist motion can be to blame, as well as trauma to the wrist.

Doctors say the best way to keep carpal tunnel syndrome from developing is to keep your wrists flat.

"Flexing the wrist or hyperextending it -- both of those types of movements do put stress and tension on the nerve and can aggravate carpal tunnel syndrome," said Bliss.

Having overall good health can also prevent symptoms.

"Try to live a healthy lifestyle, weight control is important, get enough exercise, proper diet," said Bliss.

Several treatments are available, from cortisone shots to surgery.

Said Dr. Bliss, "Often times the patient is given a simple wrist splint to keep the wrist from bending at night, and that often times helps relieve the symptoms."

If you have carpal tunnel symptoms, doctors say don't ignore them -- because they could become permanent.

Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

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