Carpal tunnel syndrome is the most common medical condition affecting several individuals in the US. People with this condition may experience pain, swelling, numbness, and weakness in the hand or wrist. This blog will share fascinating insights on the symptoms, causes, and various treatment options of CTS.
What Is Carpal Tunnel Syndrome?
CTS is also known as median nerve compression. It occurs due to undue pressure on your median nerve, which runs through the carpal tunnel in your wrist. Carpal tunnel involves eight wrist bones, nine tendons, and the median nerve.
Swelling or inflammation in this small tunnel can place pressure on your median nerve. People experiencing CTS can affect one or both hands.
Symptoms of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
Some of its most common symptoms include:
1. Tingling or Numbness
The patient usually experiences tingling and numbness in all fingers except the little one. They may feel a sensation like an electric shock in these fingers. A person feels these symptoms while holding objects like a phone or book. The numb feeling may become permanent over time.
The loss of hand power is one of the most common complaints, which can be severe in some cases. It is most prevalent while performing activities that need small muscles at the base of the thumb.
You may feel weakness in your hand due to which you drop objects. It may happen because of the weakness of the thumb’s pinching muscles controlled by the median nerve.
3. Impairment at Night
Symptoms experienced in CTS are more severe at night. Unusual sensations might become intense at times, interfering with sleep. It may even wake a person from sleep.
Many patients feel the swelling in their hands or fingers. When the doctors examine hands and fingers, they cannot find measurable enlargement of either hand or digits. In most situations, the sense of swelling is most likely a misinterpretation of numbness and clumsiness.
Some patients report twitching and shock-like sensations in their palms and fingers. This feeling gets worse when they hold things such as a phone or newspaper.
Pain experienced by patients with carpal tunnel syndrome is different from tingling and numbness. It may appear at the early or late stage of the CTS. Other than hand and fingers, it sometimes affects the arm up to the shoulder.
What Are the Causes of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome?
It is generally caused by a rise in pressure on the median nerve and tendons in the carpal tunnel. These factors may include:
- Sprain or fracture
- An overactive pituitary gland
- An underactive thyroid gland
- Rheumatoid arthritis
- Mechanical problems in the wrist joint
- Fluid retention during pregnancy or menopause
- Development of a tumor in the canal
Several factors play a vital role in the development of CTS. Although they may not cause carpal tunnel syndrome, but they may increase the risk of damage to the median nerve. These factors include:
- Anatomic factors
- Nerve-damaging conditions
- Inflammatory conditions
- Body fluid changes
How Is Carpal Tunnel Syndrome Treated?
If you do not get treatment timely, the condition will worsen over time. At early stages, it is possible to slow or stop the progression of the disease. But it is advisable to treat underlying causes such as diabetes or arthritis first.
1. Bracing or Splinting
Wearing a brace or splint at night will prevent the bending of your wrist while sleeping. Keeping your wrist in a straight position will help to reduce stress on the median nerve in the carpal tunnel. Wearing a splint when performing activities that worsen your symptoms may also assist.
2. Over-The-Counter Drugs
Several nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs help to ease pain and swelling. Such medicines include aspirin, ibuprofen, and other nonprescription pain relievers.
3. Alternative Therapies
Many people with CTS reported the effectiveness of acupuncture and chiropractic care. Yoga has also proved to ease pain and improve grip strength.
If nonsurgical treatment options do not provide any relief from the symptoms, your doctor may recommend surgery.
Your healthcare provider will suggest surgery after analyzing the severity of your symptoms. Open release surgery and endoscopic surgery are the most common and effective surgical procedures in the United States.
At CMW, our expert team of surgeons offers effective and reliable surgical and nonsurgical procedures for CTS after analyzing your symptoms. Schedule an appointment at CMW with our Board-Certified surgeons and ease your pain today.