Also called: Median nerve entrapment

You're working at your desk, trying to ignore the tingling or numbness you've had for some time in your hand and wrist . Suddenly, a sharp, piercing pain shoots through the wrist and up your arm. Just a passing cramp? More likely you have carpal tunnel syndrome. The carpal tunnel is a narrow passageway of ligament and bones at the base of your hand. It contains nerve and tendons. Sometimes, thickening from irritated tendons or other swelling narrows the tunnel and causes the nerve to be compressed. Symptoms usually start gradually. As they worsen, grasping objects can become difficult. What causes the problem? Some people have smaller carpal tunnels than other people do. Other causes include performing assembly line work, wrist injury, or swelling due to certain diseases, such as rheumatoid arthritis. Women are three times more likely to have carpal tunnel syndrome than men. Treatment includes resting your hand, splints, pain and anti-inflammatory medicines, and surgery.