If you feel a weakness, numbness, or pain in your hand and wrist, the problem may be carpal tunnel syndrome.

This is caused by pressure on a nerve as it goes through a tunnel in a wrist. The tunnel is made up of several small bones and ligaments that form a groove. The nerve that passes through the groove is vulnerable to injury, especially when the wrist is bent back forcefully. This can happen when you fall with your hands outstretched to brace yourself – or when you hit a swinging door with the wrist bent backwards.

Sometimes it results from the kind of physical exertion that’s normal in your daily activities. A carpenter, for example, can develop the syndrome from heavy hammering. So can a mechanic who pulls forcefully on a wrench. So can a housewife who scrubs the floor by leaning on one hand with the wrist bent backward.

Whatever the cause, treatment is available to relieve the pressure and return your wrist and hands to their normal condition – free of weakness and pain.