The numbness, tingling, and pain in the hands, wrists, and arms may be all too familiar to you if you have carpal tunnel syndrome, and if so, you’re far from alone. More than eight million people are affected by CTS every year.
Fortunately, various forms of carpal tunnel syndrome treatment can help alleviate the associated symptoms. In fact, more than 230,000 carpal tunnel surgeries are performed every year.
If you’re feeling pain in your fingers, wrists, or arms and are wondering if you might have CTS, it will help to understand basic facts about the condition.
In order to define the syndrome, let’s start with explaining the phrase “carpal tunnel.” It is a space in the wrist where nine tendons and a median nerve pass from the arm into the hand. The bottom and sides of this “tunnel” are formed by small wrist bones called carpal bones. The top, located on the palm side, is a strong band of connective tissue called the transverse carpal ligament.
About an inch wide, the tunnel protects the median nerve and flexor tendons that bend the fingers and thumb.
Carpal tunnel syndrome occurs when there is pressure and swelling in this tunnel. Although it’s unclear, possible causes of CTS include:
- Thyroid conditions
- High blood pressure
- Repetitive use of the wrists without necessary precautions, such as improper use of a computer keyboard, regular use of tools at work, and participating in sports, games, or other hobbies.
Carpal Tunnel Syndrome Treatment and Prevention
Because it’s difficult to determine the definite cause of CTS, preventing it can be challenging. However, some of the following prevention and self-care tips may help.
- Use ergonomically designed furniture and computer equipment.
- Use proper posture when typing.
- Wear a wrist brace when participating in games and sports that strain your wrists, such as bowling.
- Wear proper protection and pay attention to your form if you work in manufacturing, automotive, or other industrial industries.
- Sleep with your wrists straight.
- Take frequent breaks at work or when participating in hobbies.
- Stretch your arms over your head and wiggle your fingers to reduce tension.
In some cases, more significant remedies may be advised. These carpal tunnel syndrome treatment options include:
- Temporarily splinting the wrist
- Laser therapy
- Oral medications
- Steroid injections
- Surgery to cut the ligament at the top of the tunnel in order to enlarge it and decrease pressure
Here at Insight, one of the many specialties within our Orthopedic Services unit is minimally invasive, outpatient surgery to treat carpal tunnel syndrome. For more information about this surgical option or our other orthopedic services, call us at (810) 226-0076 or message us through our website.