Compression of the Median Nerve

Have you got pins in needles in you thumb, index, middle or on the inside of the ring finger? Do these fingers sometimes feel numb? Does it get worse at night or when you’re doing things during the day such as using the computer or cooking? You may have a compression injury to your median nerve.

The median nerve is a nerve that originates at your spine in the neck (C5-T1) and travels all the way down you arm to your fingers. The specific fingers that this nerve supplies are the thumb, index, middle and the inside of the ring finger. This nerve supplies sensation and motor control to enable your hand and arm to work effectively.

This nerve has a specific pathway through the arm and it goes through different canals which can easily be compressed or pinched. When these different areas are compressed the most common symptoms occur which are numbness or ‘pins and needles.’ Depending on where the nerve is compressed the type of compression injury is determined. The different injuries are mentioned below:

Pronator Syndrome:

In the upper forearm the median nerve passes through a canal called the lacertus fibrosus. In this canal there is also a muscle that sits closely to the median nerve called the pronator teres. This muscle is known for allowing the hand to rotate in a ‘palm down’ or ‘pronated’ position. When this movement is overused it causes inflammation of the muscle and other structures that surround the median nerve. When these structures become inflamed it is likely to cause the median nerve to be compressed within this canal.

When the median nerve is compressed at this specific area within the forearm the following symptoms can occur:

  • Discomfit and aching in the forearm
  • Numbness or tingling in the thumb and/or index and middle fingers
  • Sensory loss in the muscle pad at the base of the thumb

Carpal Tunnel Syndrome:

Carpal Tunnel Syndrome is one of the most common nerve compression syndromes known to the general population. It is where the median nerve gets compressed at the wrist joint causing sensory loss and weakness to the hand and fingers.  More information on Carpal Tunnel Syndrome can be found by clicking on this link.

Our specialists at Specialist On Hand are trained to help with your injury and get you back to your normal activities. We offer a wide range of diagnostic and personalised treatment regimens to help you with your recovery. Treatment regimes include:

  • Pain management
  • Anti-inflammatory management
  • Activity modification and ergonomic education
  • Soft tissue massage and myofascial release
  • Wrist and elbow orthotic regimes
  • Individualised muscle and nerve exercises programs
  • Neurostimulation using Inter-X and TENS machines.

If you are experiencing any of the symptoms mentioned and are unsure if you have an injury do not hesitate to contact us at Specialists On Hand.