Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
Carpal Tunnel Syndrome (CTS) is pain, tingling, numbness and / or weakness caused by the pressure on the median nerve. This nerve runs from your forearm to your hand through a small space in your wrist called the carpal tunnel. This median nerve runs through this passageway along with tendons to the fingers and thumb. When this nerve is pinched or compressed, the result is numbness, tingling, weakness, or pain in the hand, called carpal tunnel syndrome.
If diagnosed early CTS can be relieved without surgery.
- Bracing / Splinting
- Wearing a brace / splint especially at night keeps the wrist in a neutral position. This prevents irritation caused to the median nerve which occurs when wrists are curled during sleep.
- Anti-inflammatory drugs, such as ibuprofen can relieve pain.
- Steroid Injections
- A corticosteroid will provide relief but there’s a chance the symptoms may come back.
Carpal tunnel syndrome is usually done on an outpatient basis under local anesthesia. During surgery, a cut is made in your palm and the roof (transverse carpal ligament) of the carpal tunnel is divided. This increases the size of the tunnel and decreases pressure on the nerve.
What Happens Without Treatment?
Carpal tunnel syndrome symptoms come and go at first, but as the condition worsens, the symptoms become more constant. Over time, if it is left untreated carpal tunnel syndrome can cause the muscles on the thumb side of your hand to atrophy.
Reduce your force and relax your grip
When using cash register or computer hit the keys softly. For prolonged writing, use a big pen with an oversized, soft grip adapter and free-flowing ink. This way you won’t grip the pen tightly or press hard on the paper.
- Take frequent breaks
- Give your hands and wrists a break by gently stretching and bending them periodically.
- Improve your posture
- Incorrect posture can cause your shoulders to roll forward, these causes your neck and shoulder muscles to be shortened, compressing nerves in your neck. This can affect your wrists, fingers and hands.
- Watch your form
- Avoid bending your wrist all the way up or down. A relaxed middle position is best. If you use a keyboard, keep it at elbow height or lower.