Carpal tunnel syndrome, what causes it, treatment and how to prevent it

Carpal tunnel syndrome is a medical condition due to compression of the median nerve as it travels through the wrist at the carpal tunnel (the narrow passageway on the palm side of your wrist made up of bones and ligaments). The main symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome are pain, numbness, and tingling in the thumb, index finger, middle finger, and the thumb side of the ring fingers. Pain may extend up the arm – and weak grip strength may also occur.

The causes of carpal tunnel syndrome include:

· Repetitive hand use. Repeating the same hand and wrist motions or activities over a prolonged period of time may aggravate the tendons in the wrist, causing swelling that puts pressure on the nerve.
· Hand and wrist position. Doing activities that involve extension of the hand and wrist for a prolonged period of time can also increase pressure on the nerve.
· Health conditions. Diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis and thyroid gland imbalance are conditions also associated with carpal tunnel syndrome.
In addition, the traits of carpel tunnel syndrome can run in families – and hormonal changes during pregnancy can also cause swelling and symptoms.

Prevention of carpal tunnel syndrome
Since there are many factors that contribute to carpal tunnel syndrome, there is no single way to prevent it. However, if you’re experiencing the early signs of carpal tunnel syndrome and want to prevent it from further occurring, following are some things to try. Our hand and wrist specialists at POSMC will be happy to give you information and detailed instructions on each.

· Take breaks from the activity that is causing you the pain in your hands and wrists.
· Use correct posture. This is especially important for people who work on computers all day.
· Engage in different positions that won’t stress your hand or wrist.
· Do hand and wrist exercises to help strengthen the muscles in your wrists and hands.
· Consider wearing a wrist splint, which will help to keep your wrist in a neutral position while reducing the stress.

Non-invasive treatment of carpal tunnel syndrome
Left untreated, carpal tunnel syndrome can lead to irreversible nerve and muscle damage. Fortunately, permanent nerve damage usually can be avoided if you’re diagnosed and treated early. Among people with a clear diagnosis of carpal tunnel syndrome, non-invasive treatment relieves most of the pain, tingling and numbness. Non-invasive treatment options may include:

· Physical and/or occupational therapy, including therapeutic ultrasound, stretching and range-of-motion exercises.
· Medicines such as nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs may help to relieve pain and reduce inflammation. In some cases, oral corticosteroids or injections into the carpal tunnel may be recommended by your physician.

The surgical treatment option for carpal tunnel syndrome
Surgery to treat carpal tunnel may be indicated if the condition has persisted for at least six months and has limited your ability to function at work or in your activities of daily living. Surgery may also be recommended if there’s nerve damage or the risk of nerve damage.

Call POSMC today!
Our hand and wrist specialists at Plano Orthopedics are proficient in a number of procedures to help patients recover from carpal tunnel syndrome. To schedule an appointment with one our hand and wrist specialists, contact our scheduling department at 972-250-5700 or request an appointment online.

POSMC is a full-service medical facility specializing in the evaluation and treatment of orthopedic injuries. The practice is led by a group of 11 board-certified and fellowship-trained orthopedic surgeons and a physical medicine and rehabilitation physician. Contact us today!