Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

Preview image for Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

WHAT IS CARPAL TUNNEL SYNDROME: Carpal Tunnel Syndrome is numbness, tingling, and pain that occurs in your hand.  Carpal Tunnel Syndrome occurs when a specific nerve, known as the median nerve, experiences increased pressure.  The median nerve serves as a conduit for the feeling and movement of your thumb, index, middle, and ring finger.  The median nerve is found in an actual tunnel located in the wrist and is therefore formally called “The Carpal Tunnel.”

CAUSES:  Pressure on the median nerve can come from swelling, inflammation, or anything that makes the carpal tunnel smaller.  This can be due to illnesses such diabetes, thyroid disease or rheumatoid arthritis. It can also be caused by repetitive hand movements such as typing for long periods of time. This can occur in one hand or both hands (bilateral) simultaneously.

TREATMENT: There are several methods to get relief from carpal tunnel syndrome.  These include wrist braces, anti-inflammatories, rest and exercises for flexibility and strength of your arm and wrist.  However, for some individuals, their symptoms will require surgery, especially when these symptoms are constant or have not improved after several weeks of conservative treatment.  The surgery is an outpatient procedure meant to release the band of tissue that is placing pressure on the median nerve.

WHEN TO SEE YOUR DOCTOR: You should seek medical treatment if you have any numbness, tingling or pain in your hands, to avoid any permanent nerve damage.

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