Carpal Tunnel SyndromeConditions
What Is Carpal Tunnel Syndrome?
The carpal tunnel is located inside the wrist and is a condition that develops when anything compresses or irritates the median nerve. The median nerve is the main nerve that runs the length of the arm and is responsible for communicating the sensations in the hand. If you are experiencing radiating pain in your hand, wrist and/or arm, then you are not alone. Carpal tunnel syndrome is the most common nerve compression condition for the upper extremities and, therefore, about 500,000 people each year require a carpal tunnel release surgical procedure.
At Orthopedic Centers of America, we want to help you. Call 1-888-549-0835 to speak with a patient coordinator who can direct you to an orthopedic hand specialist with the experience and advanced knowledge you can trust. The call is free and one of the best things you can do to care for your hands and wrist. You will be happy you called.
Symptoms of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
The US Department of Labor calls carpal tunnel syndrome the “chief occupational hazard of the 1990’s” disabling epic proportions of workers due to workplace repetitive movements. The symptoms of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome usually begin sporadically and then gradually worsen over time. The following are possible symptoms:
- Numbness and tingling in thumb – gradually moves to include index and first two fingers
- Weakness – may occasionally drop objects or seem clumsy
- May feel an “electric” shock in the arm
- Symptoms do not affect the little finger
Causes and Risks of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
There is not a single cause for carpal tunnel syndrome. Instead, it is diagnosed by a physician after taking a history and performing an exam. Anything that irritates the median nerve is determined to be the cause. The following are possible causes and are also considered risk factors:
- Arthritis – can cause minor changes inside the wrist and/or deformities that result in carpal tunnel pain
- Anatomy – a fracture or dislocation may cause a small change in the wrist and allow the median nerve to become compressed
- Sex – Carpal Tunnel Syndrome is more common in women
- Chronic illness – some diseases are more inflammatory and may increase your risk of nerve damage. If the disease affects the median nerve, then carpal tunnel pain may be experienced.
- Inflammatory conditions – may cause the inner linings of the wrist to become inflamed and press against the median nerve
- Fluids – alterations in the balance of fluids in the body may cause carpal tunnel pain
- Repetitive motions – the repeated flexing of the wrist may cause pressure on the median nerve
When to Seek Medical Care
Recognizing that carpal tunnel pain starts intermittently and then progresses, once the pain becomes regular and affects your normal activities, then you should see a doctor. At Orthopedic Centers of America, we can direct you to a board-certified, orthopedic hand specialist who has the advanced training to care for your hands and wrist. Call 1-888-549-0835 to speak with a patient coordinator. We know how important your hands are to you and how much they contribute to your lifestyle. We can help. The call is free and is the best thing you can do for yourself.
Non-Surgical Medical Care
First, it is important to have your pain diagnosed correctly by an expert orthopedic hand specialist.Orthopedic Centers of America is not involved in the prescribing of narcotics to mask pain. The physicians’ mission is to treat the underlying problem so that you will have lasting pain relief.
There are many non-surgical treatments for carpal tunnel syndrome, and some are mentioned here:
- Rest – stop the activity causing the pain
- Ice – Place ice on the wrist every 15 minutes of each hour
- Non-steroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs – NSAIDs – these drugs may lower the inflammation enough to resolve your pain
- Wrist Splint – by wearing a wrist splint either 24 hours or only a night, the wrist rests and may relieve the pain
- Change the patterns used with the hands – find alternate methods of necessary tasks
- Steroid Injection – this will reduce swelling and may cause the pain to diminish
- Regenerative Medicine – a PRP or cell therapy injection may provide relief from pain
In cases where non-surgical treatments do not resolve the pain, surgery may be needed to physically make room in the carpal tunnel for the median nerve. In these cases, the surgeon will cut the ligament that is pressing on the carpal tunnel space so that the median nerve is free to move without being irritated or compressed. This is a small incision on the bottom of the wrist, palm side.
A minimally-invasive procedure may be used where a tiny camera is placed in an incision that is less than 1 inch so the surgeon can see the carpal tunnel space. This surgery provides access to the problem and usually results in less pain and faster recovery times when compared to open surgery.
At Orthopedic Centers of America, our board certified, orthopedic hand-specialists are highly trained and experienced in releasing the ligament in the carpal tunnel space. We want to help you enjoy life free of pain. Call 1-888-549-0835 to speak with a patient coordinator who can get you started in the right direction. Life Awaits
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