Treatments for Carpal-Tunnel Syndrome

Carpal tunnel syndrome is a painful condition that affects the nerves in the hands. Sometimes the symptoms associated with carpal tunnel syndrome diminish on their own, but other times the pain is persistent. It?s important to avoid activities that increase the irritation, however, sometimes this can prove to be difficult. In some cases of carpal tunnel syndrome, surgery may be the best option. Luckily, carpel tunnel surgery has a high success rate among patients and most report that the results are worth any pain and suffering that results from surgery or post-op procedures.

One such clinic for this syndrome to look out for is Hand Surgery Associates, who specialises in hand surgery with over 40 years of combined experience. They have a wide range of services available, from emergency treatment to hand therapy. If you should need consultation for hand surgery, they are the place to look to. Find out more about them here:

What is carpal tunnel syndrome?

Carpal tunnel syndrome is a condition in which the median nerve, which is located along the forearm and connects to various nerves in the palm of the hand, is pinched at the wrist. A structure of bones, called the carpal tunnel, can become restrictive and put pressure on the nerve, causing pain and numbness. Swelling or thickening of the tendons can also cause this condition if the lining becomes inflamed. The median nerve is responsible for sending a signal from the palm-side of your thumb, index, and middle finger to your brain, and affects the small muscles at the base of your thumb.

How do doctors diagnose this condition?

Discovering carpal tunnel syndrome early can improve your treatment options, and is critical in preventing permanent damage to the median nerve. Seeing your doctor regularly can help them establish the source of your discomfort, and make an early diagnosis. Other conditions can cause similar symptoms, so your doctor will need to physically examine your wrist and fingers to properly identify carpal tunnel syndrome. This may require X-ray tests to look for arthritis, fractures, and to determine if the carpal tunnel is abnormal. The syndrome could be caused by an enlarged median nerve, and doctors may need to perform an ultrasound to rule this out. One of the most effective tests used in medicine today is called the Tinel test, where the doctor will press on the median nerve in the patient?s wrist to see if tingling is more intense in the affected fingers.

What are the available treatments?

Depending on the underlying cause of your carpal tunnel syndrome, different treatments can be prescribed to solve the problem. It is important to start treatment early, and to follow the doctor?s instructions to prevent the condition from worsening. If the syndrome is a side-effect of diabetes or arthritis, these conditions will need to be treated first.

Non-surgical treatments are useful if the condition is diagnosed early. Common remedies to reduce discomfort include wearing a splint at night to keep the wrists straight, avoiding activities that make the symptoms worse, taking medicines that reduce swelling, and working on flexibility. Your doctor may recommend you try these alternatives, but if they do not alleviate symptoms, the next step may be surgery.

Surgery for this condition is usually referred to as carpal tunnel release, and does not require an overnight stay in the hospital. Surgeons remove the carpal ligament and relieve pressure from the median nerve, which is achieved in one of two ways. The first method involves making an incision in the wrist and cutting the ligament, while the other method involves a smaller incision and uses a camera to perform the procedure from inside the wrist. After surgery, the ligaments are expected to grow back together, which will result in more space for the median nerve. Although patients experience immediate relief, it can take months to fully recover, and grip strength may still be lacking. However, following a successful surgery, recurrence of carpal tunnel syndrome is rare.