Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
Carpal tunnel syndrome describes a painful condition that affects the wrist joints. Also known as medial nerve compression, carpal tunnel syndrome is an overuse injury that is very common in people who work in offices or perform repetitive wrist motions. Carpal tunnel syndrome is a progressive condition that gets worse over time, so it’s important to be proactive as you attempt to treat this condition.
While carpal tunnel syndrome can be difficult to live with and can diminish productivity and hobbies, there are effective treatments to help manage symptoms. At BEST Health System, we believe that patient education is essential to treatment. By learning more about this condition and its causes, you can be more engaged with the entire care process.
Common Causes and Risk Factors
The wrist joint is a very thin passageway through which a high volume of nerves and blood vessels must pass through. When carpal tunnel syndrome begins to develop, this narrow passage becomes compressed, which can negatively affect the soft tissue, vessels, and nerves within, including the medial nerve. This compression is usually the result of inflammation of the transverse carpal ligament, which contradicts the nerves against the carpal wrist bones and causes neuropathic symptoms.
There are a number of specific risk factors that can lead to a higher likelihood of carpal tunnel syndrome developing in patients, these include:
- A history of carpal tunnel syndrome in your family
- Repetitive hand use, such as typing or twisting
- Wrist posture issues that put excessive pressure on the nerve
- The presence of another condition such as diabetes, arthritis, or a thyroid condition
Practicing a healthy lifestyle that includes taking regular breaks from repetitive wrist motions, using good hand and wrist posture, and eating a healthy, anti-inflammatory diet are all ways to decrease the risk of developing carpal tunnel syndrome.
Upon diagnosis of carpal tunnel syndrome, treatment usually begins with conservative options. The recommendations for carpal tunnel syndrome often include:
- Wearing a brace or splint to limit movement and relieve pressure on the wrist
- Over the counter medications to reduce pain and inflammation
- Physical therapy to strengthen the wrist and improve flexibility
- Wrist posture training to lessen the strain on the wrist during daily activities
- Steroid injections to relieve inflammation
Conservative options are often very effective in helping to manage carpal tunnel syndrome, but surgery can become a consideration if the condition does not respond to nonsurgical therapy.
The most common symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome include:
- Wrist pain and soreness
- Neuropathic symptoms from nerve compression include tingling, numbness, and a burning sensation
- Radiating symptoms that travel up the arm
- Weakness in the arm and hand
Since symptoms may be similar to another wrist condition or injury, it is important to see a qualified physician for diagnosis and treatment.
Long-term nerve compression can lead to permanent nerve damage, making it more difficult to find relief from pain and other symptoms. This is why if a doctor can diagnose carpal tunnel syndrome early there is a better chance of finding a successful treatment plan.
When working with a doctor to diagnose wrist pain and neuropathic symptoms that are potentially related to carpal tunnel syndrome, the process will include a review of medical history followed by a discussion of symptoms. Physicians should perform a hands-on evaluation to test the range of motion and determine if there are specific movements that cause pain.
In some cases, an MRI or X-ray may be ordered to help confirm the diagnosis by showing the presence of inflamed tissue and ruling out other injuries.
Surgical Options for Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
The primary type of surgery to treat carpal tunnel syndrome is known as carpal tunnel release or carpal tunnel decompression. Most of the time, this type of carpal tunnel surgery can be performed on an outpatient basis with a small incision and the use of direct visualization technology. The goal of the procedure is to carefully enter the wrist and remove a small amount of tissue from the transverse carpal ligament to make space in the wrist and relieve medial nerve compression.
Find Out About Carpal Tunnel Syndrome Treatment Options
At BEST Health System, we have a wide range of treatment options for carpal tunnel syndrome and caring staff members with years of experience in helping people find relief. Our goal is to help people find a personalized treatment journey that helps them rediscover the quality of life they deserve. To learn more, contact us today.
If you have experienced any of these symptoms or recieved a diagnosis and need treatment, BEST can help. Take the first step towards relief today.
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