Carpel Tunnel Syndrome occurs due to pressure on the median nerve. The Carpal tunnel is a narrow canal surrounded by ligaments and is located on the palm side of your hand. There is a nerve called the median nerve which is present in your forea arm, which is responsible for controlling your thumb and fingers’ movements except for your pinky.
When your median nerve is compressed due to the swelling in the tissues surrounding the flexor tendon or when the tunnel is narrowed, then this condition is known as Carpal Tunnel Syndrome. You can feel pain, numbness, tingling, and weakness in the hand due to the abnormal pressure on the median nerve. Carpal Tunnel Syndrome gets worse in most people over time and so it is important to diagnose it early and get proper treatment.
In its early stages, symptoms of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome can be relieved by taking simple measures, but if the pressure on the median nerve continues, then it can worsen the symptoms and you might need immediate medical attention.
In most cases, Carpal Tunnel Syndrome is caused due to a combination of a variety of factors. Researchhas shown that women and older people are at high risk of developing Carpal Tunnel syndrome. The other factors are:
Though rare, Carpal tunnel syndrome can run within genes in the family
Doing repetitive movements with the same hand for a prolonged period of time can cause the tendons of your wrist to swell, and it can cause pressure on your nerve. This is particularly true as an occupational hazard for manual workers like drillers, carpentars and construction workers
If you are doing an activity that includes stretching your hands and wrist for a prolonged period of time, it can increase your nerve pressure.
Many medical researchers suggest that your body’s hormonal changes during pregnancy may put pressure on your nerve. This is usually secondary to the tissue swelling that results from the hormonal change
The symptoms of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome are as follows:
Usually, the symptoms of Carpal Tunnel syndrome appear slowly, and they are without any injury. In most cases, the symptoms appear for some time, and then they are gone. But, if the condition worsens, the symptoms will appear more frequently and stay for prolonged periods.
Most symptoms usually appear at night. You might feel that your hand falls asleep, and you feel numb. When you wake up, the numbness and tingling can go all the way to your shoulder. Morning symptoms usually appear when you hold any object for a long time period.
If the symptoms of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome appear more frequently and they start interfering with your sleep and daily routine activities, then its best you see a doctor because it can result in permanent nerve damage if not treated properly.
Your doctor can use the following methods to diagnose Carpal Tunnel Syndrome:
The doctor may ask some questions about your medical history and your family history. He will check the history of your symptoms. He will carefully examine your hand, and he can perform a number of tests on your hand and wrist to identify if you have Carpal Tunnel Syndrome.
Some doctors use x-rays of the affected hand and wrist to check if there is a bony cause for pain that is masquerading as carpal tunnel syndrome.
Your doctor may use electromyography because it can detect if there is any damage to the muscles controlled by the median nerve. It can also help to rule out other problems.
Your doctor uses electrodes taped to your skin to measure the signals in your hand and arm’s nerves.
There are plenty of non-surgical treatments available for Carpal Tunnel Syndrom like:
You can wear a brace or splint at night to stop yourself from bending your wrist. It will keep your wrist positioned in a straight line, and as a result, the pressure on your nerve will be reduced. You can also wear a splint in the daytime when performing different activities to get relief from symptoms.
You can use NSAIDs like ibuprofen and naproxen to get rid of symptoms like pain and inflammation.
If your symptoms appear due to your hand’s frequent use and repeated motions, try to make some changes to your activity that will break the routine of your hand movements.
You can do stretching and strengthening exercises with your hand, and it will make you feel better.
If you have tried all the non-surgical methods mentioned above, but your symptoms still persist, then you may need to have surgery. Your doctor will assess your symptoms and will let to know which surgical procedure will be adopted. The surgery which is performed for the treatment of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome is known as “Carpal Tunnel Release or Decompression.”
There are two different techniques used to perform this surgery:
Both methods aim to relieve pressure on your median nerve by cutting the ligament that forms the roof of the tunnel. As a result, the tunnel’s size increases, and the pressure on your nerve is decreased.
If you opt for surgical options, then it can take some time to recover. It can take 2 months for your grip and pinch strength to return to normal in some cases. The doctor may also recommend you to wear splints and braces for a few weeks to restrict your wrist and hand movements.
These are the details that you need to know about Carpal Tunnel Syndrome. If you still have any questions in your mind then please contact Dr. Gowreeson Thevendran or visit www.orthofootmd.com.