Carpal Tunnel Treatment

What Is Carpal Tunnel?

Carpal tunnel syndrome is a wrist condition where the median nerve is exposed to increase pressure, causing a numbing, painful sensation. The median nerve runs from the forearm to the hand into an area called the carpal tunnel. It is here that the nerve is exposed to pressure which causes carpal tunnel syndrome.

Causes and Symptoms

Carpal tunnel develops gradually over time. There is no one specific cause, but repetitive motions in the hands from using a keyboard or playing certain sports can contribute to its development. It can also be one of the side effects of arthritis and other joint diseases.

It would difficult not to notice the symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome as it develops. You may first start noticing a tingling, numbing feeling in the fingers and hands. As the condition worsens, there will be a painful sensation and your fingers may start to feel swollen. Carpal tunnel often flares up at night and sometimes wakes people from their sleep.

Risk Factors of Carpel Tunnel Syndrome

Any pressure or irritation to the median nerve in the carpel tunnel space can lead to this type of neuropathy. In most cases, there is no single factor that causes carpel tunnel syndrome. Some of the more common risk factors include:

  • Fractured or dislocated wrist
  • Deformed small bones in the wrist
  • Chronic illnesses, like diabetes, that can damage nerves
  • Inflammatory conditions, like rheumatoid arthritis, that affect the tendons’ linings
  • Obesity
  • Fluid retention
  • Thyroid disorders
  • Repetitive or prolonged flexing of the wrist

Treatment Options

There are a few different ways to treat carpal tunnel. Depending on your age and the severity of the condition, your doctor may recommend:

  • Hand splints. Keeping the hand in place to avoid nerve compression can lessen the symptoms of carpal tunnel.
  • Lifestyle changes. Carpal tunnel can develop as a result of repetitive hand motions. Changing these behaviors can help alleviate the pain. Using an ergonomic keyboard would be an example for someone who is often on the computer.
  • Hand exercises. Stretching and flexing the hand with certain exercises may be helpful for relieving nerve pressure. A physical or occupational therapist can help you learn these exercises.
  • Anti-inflammatory medication. There are several oral medications that can help reduce the inflammation that puts pressure on the median nerve. Trigger point injections are also recommended in certain cases, wherein the medication is injected directly to the inflamed tissue.
  • Surgery. In severe cases, physicians will recommend surgery to treat carpal tunnel. In carpal tunnel surgery, a small incision is made in the wrist and the tissue putting pressure on the median nerve is cut. The procedure is relatively simple, but it may take several days or weeks for the hand to regain its normal function.

We offer carpal tunnel treatments at our facilities. Our team or neurosurgeons will perform a thorough physical examination and work with you to find the best plan of care for your specific condition.

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