WHAT IS CARPAL TUNNEL SYNDROME?
Carpal tunnel syndrome is a progressive condition stemming from a pinched median nerve, located in the wrist and responsible for supplying feeling and movement to the hand. There is a space in your wrist called the carpal tunnel where the median nerve and and 9 other tendons pass from the forearm to the hand. This area in your wrist transmits sensory information from parts of your hand and passes it through. When swelling is present, it puts pressure on the nerve causing the pinched nerve. This nerve damage can lead to numbness, tingling sensation, radiating pain, or sense of weakness. There are a number of risk factors that may lead to carpal tunnel syndrome including hormone changes, inflammatory conditions like arthritis, and workplace factors like prolonged or repetitive flexing of the wrist. Someone who has carpal tunnel syndrome will experience painful symptoms that originate from the carpal tunnel and radiate up the arm from the wrist.
WHAT CAUSES CARPAL TUNNEL SYNDROME?
There are many reasons why a carpal tunnel will swell and put pressure on the median nerve. Carpal tunnel is often preceded by acute or repetitive trauma to the hand or wrist area. The main reason it becomes inflamed is repetitive movements of the wrist. These repetitive motions may include: typing, talking on the phone, texting, playing the piano, painting or anything requiring long-term repetitive motion of your wrist. Some people are genetically predisposed to carpal tunnel due to having smaller channels for the nerve to pass through. A few diseases and conditions may also increase the risk of getting carpal tunnel syndrome such as: arthritis, menopause, obesity, thyroid problems, dysregulated pituitary gland, pregnancy, and a broken or dislocated wrist.
SYMPTOMS OF CARPAL TUNNEL SYNDROME
Symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome generally will gradually increase over time. Most people report noticing the symptoms at night time. The pain associated with carpal tunnel syndrome can range from moderate to severe. The most common carpal tunnel syndrome symptoms are pain, tingling, and weakness in the hand and wrist. Symptoms often are felt in the palm of the hands and along the fingers. This may include burning, tingling, or numbness particularly in the thumb, index, and middle finger. These feelings may become so severe you can’t hold things or find yourself dropping light objects because you struggle to grasp things. Making your hand into a fist will be virtually impossible. These symptoms and the pain experienced with carpal tunnel can prevent sufferers from performing the normal tasks they need to do at work.
CARPAL TUNNEL SYNDROME TREATMENT
Treatment for carpal tunnel syndrome varies based on each patient and their specific condition. At Clearway Pain Solutions, our goal is to treat your wrists so you can find relief from your pain and avoid surgery. Orthotics like a wrist splint or brace may be helpful to immobilize the wrist in a splint to lessen or take pressure off the nerve in those with mild cases of carpal tunnel. A wrist splint or brace can reduce inflammation and aid in healing. Taking over-the-counter (OTC) medication like NSAIDs can help relieve the pain and swelling associated with carpal tunnel syndrome. People who have not had success with these conservative measures may get relief from oral diuretics to reduce fluid retention, which reduces pressure on the median nerve.
Our team offers injections to help reduce the pain and numbness. Injections are extremely successful and recommended before a patient resorts to surgery. Injections are a low cost and low risk option that can help many people. Corticosteroid injections have provided relief to many people suffering from carpal tunnel syndrome. These injections reduce pain and swelling, often for long periods of time. One in three people who have had carpal tunnel syndrome who got treated with corticosteroids, reports relief without any further treatment.
However, for some cases, surgery may be the only way to find relief. Surgery can be performed through open surgery methods or endoscopic methods. These surgeries are designed to relieve pressure on the median nerve when other treatments aren’t effective. Surgery for carpal tunnel syndrome is a last resort. Contact Clearway Pain Solutions to schedule a consultation to get relief from carpal tunnel syndrome.