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Carpal tunnel syndrome is a painful condition caused by a pinched nerve in the wrist. It is a common source of numbness, tingling and pain in the hand, as well as strange sensations traveling throughout the arm to the shoulder. If left untreated the symptoms and pain will become progressively worse. Surgery can often be avoided by treating the symptoms in their early stages through rest and/or immobilization and medications. Surgery may be considered in severe cases.