Carpel Tunnel Syndrome Relief: Symptoms and Treatment
Carpal tunnel syndrome is a common condition that causes pain, numbness and tingling in the hand and arm. The condition occurs when one of the major nerves to the hand, the median nerve, is squeezed or compressed as it travels through the wrist.
In most patients, carpal tunnel syndrome gets worse over time, so early diagnosis and treatment are important. Early on, symptoms can often be relieved with simple measures like wearing a wrist splint or avoiding certain activities.
If pressure on the median nerve continues, however, it can lead to nerve damage and worsening symptoms. To prevent permanent damage, surgery to take pressure off the median nerve may be recommended for some patients.
What is carpal tunnel syndrome?
Carpal tunnel syndrome is a condition affecting the hands, wrists, and arms. It is caused by compression on the median nerve located in the passageway between the wrist and hand. This passageway is called the carpal tunnel.
The nerve may be compressed due to inflammation related to conditions like rheumatoid arthritis, nerve damage from diabetes, fluid retention related to pregnancy and menopause.
Frequent use of vibrating tools and repetitive motions like writing or typing on the computer may cause carpal tunnel syndrome. These activities can aggravate the tendons in the wrist causing inflammation that puts pressure on the median nerve.
Symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome
Symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome may include:
- Numbness, tingling, or shock sensations at the thumb, index, middle, and half of the ring finger
- An electric shock-like feeling mostly in thumb, index, and long fingers
- Strange sensations and pain traveling up the arm toward the shoulder
- Symptoms usually begin gradually and may become increasingly more constant
- Nighttime symptoms of numbness and tingling that cause frequent awakening
- Feelings of clumsiness or weakness
- Muscles at the base of the thumb may become visibly smaller in severe cases
Treatment of carpal tunnel syndrome
Early symptoms can often be relieved with simple measures like wearing a wrist splint or avoiding certain activities. Cortisone injections may also be used to decrease inflammation and swelling, which relieves pressure on the median nerve.
Surgery may be appropriate if symptoms are severe and/or don’t respond to other treatments. During carpal tunnel release surgery, the ligament that forms the top of the carpal tunnel is cut to relieve the median nerve compression. The tunnel is then bigger so there is more room for the nerve. Once the carpal tunnel is released, recurrence of carpal tunnel syndrome is rare.
If you are experiencing pain, numbness, and tingling in the hand and arm and would like to consult with our team of providers, request an appointment through our online form or call the office to schedule an appointment today.