Understanding Carpal Tunnel Syndrome: A Guide to Improving Hand Functions

In today’s world, technology has become an integral part of our daily lives. From typing on a keyboard all day to constantly scrolling through our phones, we rely heavily on our hands and fingers. However, this continuous use of our hands can lead to various hand injuries, one of the most common being carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS). In this article, we will discuss the impact of CTS on hand functions and how to improve them.

What is Carpal Tunnel Syndrome?

Carpal tunnel syndrome is a condition that affects the hand and wrist. It occurs when the median nerve, which runs from the forearm to the hand through a small opening in the wrist called the carpal tunnel, becomes compressed or squeezed.

The carpal tunnel is a narrow passageway made up of bones and ligaments that protect the median nerve as well as the tendons that allow your fingers to bend. When this nerve gets compressed, it can result in numbness, tingling, weakness, or pain in your hand and fingers.

Causes of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

The causes of carpal tunnel syndrome may vary, but some common factors include repetitive hand motions, such as typing on a computer or using vibrating tools, wrist injuries, and certain health conditions like diabetes or arthritis. Women are also three times more likely to develop CTS than men due to smaller carpal tunnels.

Symptoms of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

The symptoms of CTS usually start gradually and worsen over time. You may experience tingling, numbness, or pain in your hand that can spread to your wrist, arm, or shoulder. You may also have a weakened grip or difficulty holding onto small objects. In severe cases, muscle atrophy (shrinkage) can occur.

Treatment Options

If you’re experiencing any symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome, it’s important to seek medical attention. Your doctor may perform a physical exam or order tests like nerve conduction studies to diagnose carpal tunnel syndrome so that you can start treatment promptly.

Treatment options for CTS may include:

  1. Rest: Taking a break from repetitive hand motions can help alleviate symptoms and prevent further damage to the nerve.
  2. Wrist Splints: Wearing a splint at night can keep your wrist in a neutral position, reducing pressure on the median nerve.
  3. Medications: Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) can help relieve pain and swelling.
  4. Steroid Injections: Corticosteroids injected into the carpal tunnel can provide short-term relief from symptoms.
  5. Surgery: In severe cases, surgery may be necessary to relieve pressure on the median nerve. This procedure involves cutting the ligament over your carpal tunnel to widen it and reduce pressure on the nerve.

Improving Hand Functions

Aside from seeking medical treatment, there are also lifestyle changes and exercises you can do at home to improve hand functions and prevent carpal tunnel syndrome in Chicago. These include:

  • Take frequent breaks from repetitive tasks and stretch your wrists and hands.
  • Use ergonomic tools that support your wrists and keep them in a neutral position.
  • Maintaining good posture and wrist alignment when using devices.
  • Strengthening exercises for your hand, wrist, and forearm muscles.


Carpal tunnel syndrome can greatly impact our daily lives, making it difficult to perform simple tasks that we often take for granted. However, with proper treatment and precautions, you can improve hand functions and prevent CTS from worsening. Be mindful of your hand usage, take breaks when needed, and seek medical attention if you experience any symptoms. Remember, our hands are precious, and taking care of them is essential to living a healthy and productive life.