All you want at the end of a long day of hard work is a good nights sleep. But what if you dont get what you deserve, and instead wake up with tingling, numbness and pins and needles in your hand in the middle of the night? Believe it or not, many people do experience this and day-long pain in their hand, wrist and forearm due to a compression of the median nerve. This very common problem is known as carpal tunnel syndrome, and studies show that women are three times more likely to develop it than men.What Is Carpal Tunnel Syndrome?The Cleveland Clinic explains that carpal tunnel syndrome is a common health issue that causes pain, numbness, tingling and weakness, predominantly in the hand and the wrist. The issue occurs when the carpal tunnel, a narrow canal in the wrist that allows the passage of the median nerve and tendons connected to the hand and forearm, experiences increased pressure. This pressure on the carpal tunnel entraps the median nerve, cutting off circulation as well as causing lack of strength and excessive pain.Carpal tunnel syndrome was first described in the mid-1800s, and over time, people associated its occurrence with factory and manual workers. Now, it is common knowledge that any form of repetitive behaviour with your hand can entrap the median nerve, leading to carpal tunnel syndrome. The first surgery to release the carpal tunnel of the excessive pressure was conducted in the 1930s. Well recognised by orthopaedic surgeons and neurologists, carpal tunnel syndrome now has multiple treatment options.Women Carpal Tunnel SyndromeAccording to a 2021 study published in the Annals of Indian Academy of Neurology, carpal tunnel syndrome not only affects women predominantly but also leads to more intense and severe symptoms. Previously, many researchers believed that women have a lower threshold for pain and tend to over-report their symptoms, which is why more of them are diagnosed with the condition. Studies like the 2021 one clarify that this medical bias needs to be overcome since womens pain is often not taken as seriously and gender-related factors that affect women are also ignored time and again.The study says that in India, 60 per cent of women in the age group of 15-59 years are engaged in household work or manual work that does damage the median nerve in the hand. Most women, whether they are cooking, sweeping, sewing, working on a laptop or carrying a baby around, tend to do hand-intensive routine work. This makes women particularly likely to develop median nerve damage at the wrist and definitely does lead to more intense symptoms. Some studies also reveal that women have narrower wrists, thereby narrower carpal tunnelswhich could also contribute to excessive pain and other symptoms.These are some of the reasons why not only labour force women but also homemakers and caregivers are vulnerable to carpal tunnel syndrome and its debilitating, life-long crippling impacts. Despite this, most women tend to be unaware of carpal tunnel syndrome and the immensely negative impact it can have on our lives. To overcome this, heres everything you need to know about carpal tunnel syndrome, its prevention and its treatment.Carpal Tunnel Syndrome SymptomsThe symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome usually occur in stages. The following are some of the early symptoms: Numbness in the hand at night. Tingling in the fingers, especially the thumb, index and middle fingers. Pain in the fingers, hand and forearm. Night-time pins-and-needles, discomfort or pain in the hand that wakes you up from sleep.As the condition progresses, there are a few daytime symptoms that you may observe: Tingling in the fingers. Decreased feeling in the fingertips. Difficulty handling small objects like pens or pencils. Difficulty grasping handles or steering wheels. Difficulty using a computer keyboard.When carpal tunnel syndrome worsens, the above symptoms become more severe and constant. A few additional symptoms may also appear: Weakness in the hand to a debilitating extent. Inability to perform delicate tasks. Dropping objects. Thumb muscle atrophy in the severest conditions.Risk Factors For Carpal Tunnel SyndromePeople at risk of developing carpal tunnel syndrome are usually involved in activities or jobs that involve repetitive finger or hand motions, like hammering, typing or chopping. Extreme wrist motions, long-term engagement in repetitive actions, high-force motions and vibrations can add to symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome, especially if you are already vulnerable. Here are some more risk factors for carpal tunnel syndrome: Heredity, like smaller carpal tunnels running in families. Pregnancy, menopause or other hormone changes. Hand or wrist deformity, fracture or dislocation. Diabetes Hemodialysis Hypothyroidism Rheumatoid arthritis and gout Alcoholism Older age Abnormal protein or amyloid deposits. Carpal tunnel tumourDiagnosis Of Carpal Tunnel SyndromeTo get a proper treatment for carpal tunnel syndrome, you first need to be properly diagnosed. To do this, you should visit your orthopaedic surgeon or specialist. The specialist will perform the following tests: Tinels test Phalen test X-rays Electromyography and nerve conduction testsTreatments For Carpal Tunnel SyndromeThe following are the common treatment methods for carpal tunnel syndrome:1. Non-surgical treatments: These options can help you manage up to moderate symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome. Wearing a wrist splint, doing the recommended exercises and heat application can help manage the pain while keeping the wrist in the right posture for recovery. To manage the pain, you may be given non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs like ibuprofen. Nerve relaxants and cortisone injections may also be recommended.2. Surgical treatments: When a patient does not respond to the non-surgical treatments, surgery remains the only option. The surgery increases the size of the carpal tunnel, relieving the pressure on the median nerve, tendons and ligaments of the wrist. The procedure is usually an outpatient one and is conducted under anaesthesia. Reports suggest that patients get immediate and long-term relief after this procedure.Prevention Of Carpal Tunnel SyndromeGiven the factors involved, carpal tunnel syndrome can be difficult to prevent. There are, however, a few things you can do to prevent carpal tunnel syndrome: Make sure you sleep with your wrists straight, not curled up or folded. Keep your wrists straight while using tools, typing on a keyboard or other such activities. Avoid flexing, curling or extending your wrists repeatedly. Avoid repetitive or strong grasping motions with your wrist in a flexed position. Take frequent breaks from repetitive activities. Do the recommended conditioning and stretching exercises before and after doing repetitive activities.Monitor your carpal tunnel syndrome, if diagnosed. In case your symptoms get worse, you should consult the specialist as soon as possible.