Houston Methodist. Leading Medicine

Hand FAQ


Why does my carpal tunnel syndrome hurt more at night while I'm not doing anything? It disturbs my sleep and it's very painful.


People who have carpal tunnel syndrome do often feel pain that wakes them at night. The syndrome occurs when the median nerve that passes through the carpal tunnel in your wrist becomes pinched or pressed. It's usually caused by repetitive motions in the wrist, that can cause swelling or scarring, which then causes the pressure. But, at night, as you sleep and relax, the soft tissues in your wrist may swell up a little, but just enough to put more pressure on the nerve. This is what causes the pain. Some doctors recommend wearing a splint at night to keep your wrist from bending and this keeps the nerve from getting pinched. It may take some getting used to, though. If your pain is causing disturbed sleep, you should speak with your doctor to see what treatment is available to you. Hyun Sik Gong, MD, PhD, et al. Clinical Features Influencing the Patient-Based Outcome After Carpal Tunnel Release. In The Journal of Hand Surgery. November 2008. Vol. 33. No. 9. Pp. 1512-1516.

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