Many people know the pain and discomfort that can come with carpal tunnel syndrome. It’s a condition that affects many people and it can be incredibly frustrating, and impacts hand, finger and wrist mobility. If you are concerned that you may have this condition, you need to know your options. Here are the causes, symptoms, and treatments for carpal tunnel syndrome and how to find relief.
What Is Carpal Tunnel Syndrome?
Carpal tunnel syndrome is caused by pressure on the median nerve, which runs from the forearm to the hand through a narrow passage in the wrist called the carpal tunnel. This pressure can be caused by various factors, including repetitive hand movements (such as typing or using a mouse), wrist injuries, or certain medical conditions (such as rheumatoid arthritis or diabetes) that cause inflammation in the wrist joint.
Symptoms of Carpal Tunnel
The symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome can vary but typically include pain, numbness, and tingling in the hand and fingers (except the little or pinky finger). This pain can be particularly noticeable at night or in the morning, making it difficult to perform everyday tasks such as typing or gripping objects. In severe cases, carpal tunnel syndrome can lead to muscle weakness or even permanent nerve damage in the wrist and hand.
Treatment for Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
Thankfully, there are several treatments available for carpal tunnel syndrome. In mild cases, simply taking breaks from repetitive hand movements or wearing a brace to keep the wrist in a neutral position may be enough to alleviate symptoms. Physical therapy or occupational therapy can also be effective for some people.
For more severe cases, corticosteroid injections or surgery may be necessary. Corticosteroids can help reduce inflammation and relieve pain, while surgery involves cutting the ligament pressing on the median nerve to relieve pressure. While carpal tunnel release surgery can be effective, it does require a longer recovery time than other treatments. Patients may need to perform physical therapy to regain strength and mobility in their hand and wrist post-surgery.
Prevention of Carpal Tunnel
There are also several things you can do to prevent carpal tunnel syndrome from occurring in the first place. Taking regular breaks from repetitive hand movements, using ergonomic equipment (such as a keyboard or mouse), and maintaining good posture can all help reduce your risk of developing carpal tunnel syndrome.
Carpal tunnel syndrome can be a frustrating and painful condition, but several treatments are available to alleviate symptoms and improve quality of life. If you are experiencing symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome, it’s important to speak with an orthopedic specialist to determine the best course of treatment for your individual needs. With proper care and attention, you can manage your symptoms and continue to perform everyday tasks without pain or discomfort. Contact our team at Steven Struhl, MD – Shoulders & Knees to schedule a carpal tunnel syndrome consultation with Dr. Struhl at our office in NYC.