What You Should Know About Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

What You Should Know About Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

There are more than 8 million diagnosed cases of carpal tunnel syndrome in America every year. It is a common neuropathic condition affecting the arms, particularly the wrists, due to compression on the median nerve located in the wrist. If not treated, carpal tunnel syndrome can worsen and lead to permanent hand dysfunction. Fortunately, with the proper treatment and physical therapy through an East Brunswick carpal tunnel specialist, you can relieve your symptoms and regain the full functionality of your hands. Let us learn more about carpal tunnel syndrome and the available treatment options to consider.

What triggers carpal tunnel syndrome?

Carpal tunnel syndrome develops when the ligaments and nerves, precisely the median nerve in the carpal tunnel located in the wrist, become squeezed and compressed. The compression can result from the carpal tunnel narrowing and thus squeezing the median nerve. When the median nerve becomes squeezed, it swells and causes a tingling, pain, numbness, and a weak feeling on your hands, including your fingers.

Symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome

The symptoms usually progress slowly and worsen over time, leading to various other medical issues. Here are several signs and symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome to look out for.

  • Tingling or pain in fingers
  • Numbness
  • Weakness of hands while handling various activities
  • Shock-like sensations on hands and fingers

The carpal tunnel syndrome does not affect the little finger, also known as the pinky finger, since the median nerve does not send signals or sensations to it. In severe cases, carpal tunnel syndrome can cause atrophy, a condition that causes the thumb muscles to shrink in size. 

Who is at risk of developing carpal tunnel syndrome?

Several factors may increase your risk of developing carpal tunnel syndrome, including your wrist anatomical structure, workplace activities, weight, etc. Also, carpal tunnel syndrome is more common in women than men due to several factors such as pregnancy, hormonal imbalance, and smaller carpal tunnel.

Additionally, if you have an existing medical condition such as diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, or thyroid disorders, you may be at a higher risk of developing carpal tunnel syndrome. Working with vibrating tools may put pressure on the median nerve and damage other nerves in the hand, causing carpal tunnel syndrome.

How can carpal tunnel syndrome get treated?

Two main surgical treatment options for carpal tunnel syndrome include surgical and non-surgical treatments. If the condition is in its early stages, your doctor may recommend several conservative care treatments such as physical therapy, steroids injections, wearing a wrist brace or split, etc.

On the other hand, if your carpal tunnel syndrome is in its late stages or more severe, your doctor will recommend a surgical procedure known as carpal tunnel release. The goal of this procedure is to relieve pressure from the median nerve and allow proper nerve functioning.

What should you expect during recovery?

Recovering from carpal tunnel syndrome may be gradual, depending on the severity of your condition. Mainly after the carpal tunnel release surgical procedure, you might take 6 to 12 months to regain normal hand sensations. However, expect some swelling, pain, and stiffness after the procedure, which might take several weeks or months. Your doctor will also advise you to wear a wrist brace and splint after the procedure and avoid strenuous hand activities.

Are you experiencing consistent hand discomfort? Visit the Mid Atlantic Orthopedic Associates, LLP, where you will get a proper diagnosis for your carpal tunnel syndrome. Also, you will have access to appropriate and compassionate care during your treatment or physical therapy. Do not hesitate to call or schedule an appointment online and begin your treatment and recovery journey.

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