Entrapment of the Median Nerve: A Neural Perspective on Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

Carpal tunnel syndrome is the narrowing of the passageway in the wrist that allows for safe passage of the median nerve. This leads to median nerve entrapment.  

And while it may not be a well-known sports injury per se, the condition of carpal tunnel syndrome may happen from swinging a racket, such as in tennis or squash, or from repetitive movements.   

The median nerve innervates the anterior portion of the forearm, which controls wrist flexion and coarse hand movements. It goes through your wrist and extends to the palm, thumb, and fingers. This area at the wrist is referred to as the carpal tunnel. Yet, when the carpal tunnel becomes inflamed, the median nerve may become compressed or trapped. 

When there is entrapment of the median nerve, many individuals often struggle to grasp grocery bags or other objects. The hands and wrist may feel numb or tingly. Pain may occur through through the wrist, hands, and fingers. Further, you may experience muscle weakness, such as when you are holding a bag. You may also experience a loss of fine muscle coordination in the fingers. So, what should you do if you’re experiencing these symptoms?  

carpal tunnel

How Do You Deal with the Entrapment of the Median Nerve? 

Visit your family doctor to get a correct diagnosis. Your doctor will perform an examination of the hand and wrist. This may involve asking you questions throughout the exam as to whether something causes the symptoms of pain, numbness, or tingling. Wrist X-rays and other tests  may be performed to rule out any other conditions or causes. 

Your doctor may then recommend anti-inflammatory medications to decrease inflammation and pain. Over-the-counter drugs, such as ibuprofen, often suffice.   

Physical therapy is also frequently recommended to help strengthen and stretch the wrist and hands. Massage therapy may further help relieve symptoms, such as tight or sore muscles.  

Rarely is surgery considered. However, some more severe situations may require surgery to decrease the pressure on the median nerve. 

By actively using the wrist on a regular basis and continuing to stretch it, the recurrence of carpal tunnel syndrome can be prevented. Working on your grip strength may also contribute to healthy and mobile wrists. In turn, stress and strain can be prevented on the wrists and save you time and pain associated with recovery and treatment of carpal tunnel syndrome and the entrapment of the median nerve.   

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