Take Care With Computer Work
Whether or not computer work increases the risk of carpal tunnel syndrome is controversial. Some studies suggest that prolonged computer work can contribute to carpal tunnel syndrome, other studies do not show this risk. I suspect that it is not the computer itself that is the culprit, but the way we use it. If someone has poor posture at their desk and types with the wrists bent for a prolonged period of time, there can be increased pressure on the nerves. I would suggest taking rest breaks, stretching, and maintaining good posture of the neck, back, shoulders and wrists to avoid CTS symptoms.
Target 20 Minutes To 25 Minutes Minimum For Cold Therapy Between 45 And 51 Degrees F
When doing Cold Therapy alone it is important to keep the hand submerged in the cold water for 20 to 25 minutes minimum at a temperature between 45 and 51 degrees F . There is little benefit of icing if you do it in warmer water or for less time. There is no advantage to going less than 45 degrees F .
What Pain Medicines Do
You’ve probably tried taking pain medicines to treat carpal tunnel syndrome. And if so, they probably worked well enough to ease the painful symptoms. But its only temporarily relief – enough so you can get some sleep.
Actually,allpain medicines merely mask the pain. They dull pain sensations enough to give you some relief. But thereasonyou’re having the pain is not addressed by these medicine.
Thats why pain comes back again and again. It’s like having an infection under you skin, where a little ice feels good. But it doesn’t address thereasonfor the infection.
Pain from carpal tunnel syndrome is no different. But some people find the temporary relief from pain pain medicines is good enough.
The great advantages of pain medicines to treat carpal tunnel syndrome are that they’re easy to take, inexpensive, and readily available. That’s why patients use pain medicines more than anything else to treat this condition.
Almost all pain is a result of inflammation. That’s why anti-inflammatory drugs are a good way to eliminate carpal tunnel pain.
Two basic types of drugs reduce inflammation. These aresteroidsornon-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs.
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Be Skeptical Of Online Experts
Finally, beware of cure-all treatments you may find online. If something sounds too good to be true, it probably is. And if someone is trying to sell you something with a money-back guarantee and 100% successful results, think twice before buying. If you need carpal tunnel surgery, dont be afraid to consult with a hand specialist who is an expert in treatment of CTS.
Dr. John M. Erickson is a hand and upper extremity specialist at the Raleigh Hand Center. He trained in orthopedic surgery at the University of Michigan and completed a hand surgery fellowship at Vanderbilt University. He is an active member of the American Society for Surgery of the Hand .
Can Carpal Tunnel Syndrome Be Prevented Or Avoided
You can take steps to prevent carpal tunnel syndrome. The following actions may help to prevent it:
- Lose weight if youre overweight.
- Get treatment for any disease you have that may cause carpal tunnel syndrome.
- If you do the same tasks over and over with your hands, try not to bend, extend, or twist your hands for long periods of time.
- Dont work with your arms too close or too far from your body.
- Dont rest your wrists on hard surfaces for long periods of time.
- Switch hands during work tasks.
- Make sure the tools you use arent too big for your hands.
- Take regular breaks from repeated hand movements to give your hands and wrists time to rest.
- If you use a keyboard a lot, adjust the height of your chair so that your forearms are level with your keyboard, and you dont have to flex your wrists to type.
Many products you can buy, such as wrist rests for a computer keyboard, are supposed to ease symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome. No one has proven that these products really prevent wrist problems. Some people may have less pain and numbness after using these products, but other people may have increased pain and numbness.
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Endoscopic Carpal Tunnel Release
The surgeon makes a small cut near the lower section of your palm near your wrist. The surgeon then inserts an endoscope into your wrist. An endoscope is a long, flexible tube with an attached light and camera. The camera takes video from inside your wrist and these images appear on a monitor inside the operating room. Your surgeon will insert other tools through this opening and cut the carpal ligament to reduce pressure on your nerve. The surgeon removes the tools and endoscope and then closes the incision with a stitch.
This outpatient procedure takes about 15 to 60 minutes. You will receive anesthesia before the procedure. Anesthesia will cause you to fall asleep and prevent pain during the procedure. You may experience some pain or discomfort after the anesthesia wears off. However, your doctor can prescribe medication to dull the pain.
Risks associated with this type of surgery include:
- nerve damage
- allergic reaction to anesthesia or pain medication
Your doctor will schedule a follow-up appointment after surgery to remove your stitches and monitor your progress. However, you should contact your doctor or seek immediate medical attention if you experience any of the following symptoms:
- fever and chills
- discharge from the surgery site
- intense pain that does not respond to medication
- shortness of breath or chest pains
- nausea or vomiting
Nsaids To Treat Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
Just like cortisone, NSAIDs relieve pain by reducing inflammation. However, unlike steroids, they’re much safer to use. But they’re not completely safe.
The FDA recentlyissued a warningof heart attack and stroke risk for non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs. Such serious side effects may occur as early as the first few weeks of using NSAIDs. Also, the risk might increase the longer you take them. Other serious NSAID risks include:
- Allergic reactions like swelling, wheezing, difficulty breathing, skin rash
- Stomach or intestinal problems like bleeding or ulcers
- Kidney failure, especially in those with existing kidney problems
Therefore, the FDA recommends taking NSAID drugssparingly.That means an occasional dosage to relieve temporary carpal tunnel pain is fine for most people. However, the danger comes when trying to treat carpal tunnel syndrome pain on a long-term basis. In other words, taking these medicines every day for 3-4 weeks is not advised.
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How Hand Pain Is Treated
Hand pain can result from a variety of different conditions, including osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, peripheral neuropathy, carpal tunnel syndrome, lupus, fibromyalgia, and injuries to the hand and finger joints, cartilage, or surrounding muscles. Hand pain can significantly impact your ability to perform motions like grasping, gripping, and pinching, making everyday tasks and activities of daily living challenging and painful.
What Are The Treatment Options For Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
Treat carpal tunnel syndrome as early as possible after symptoms start.
Take more frequent breaks to rest your hands. Avoiding activities that worsen symptoms and applying cold packs to reduce swelling also may help.
Other treatment options include wrist splinting, medications and surgery. Splinting and other conservative treatments are more likely to help if youve had only mild to moderate symptoms for less than 10 months.
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Physical Activity And Exercise
Several studies have shown a reduction in carpal tunnel symptoms when patients were involved in an exercise program, particularly vigorous physical activity. Jogging, swimming, playing sports, biking, even walking around the neighborhood are all physical activities which are good for you, and your carpal tunnel!
Effects Of Carpal Tunnel
Symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome may include:
- Burning, numbness, tingling and pain, mainly in your middle, ring and index fingers and thumb
- Tingling or pain traveling up your forearm to your shoulder
- Occasional shocking sensations radiating to your middle, index and ring fingers and thumb
- Clumsiness and weakness in your hand, making it hard to perform fine movements like buttoning up clothing
- Dropping things because of numbness, weakness or a loss of proprioception
Often, carpal tunnel syndrome symptoms start off slowly, with no specific injury. You may find your symptoms coming and going at first. But, as the compression worsens, your symptoms might happen frequently and persist for extended periods.
When you have carpal tunnel syndrome, its common for you to experience pain, numbness and tingling at night. Your pain may be so bothersome it prevents you from getting a quality night of sleep. If you sleep with your wrist bent, your symptoms might wake you.
Carpal tunnel syndrome symptoms during the daytime often occur when youre holding an item for a long time while bending your wrist backward and forward. An example would be when youre driving, using your phone or reading a book.
Many individuals will move or shake their hands to try and relieve their symptoms.
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What Are The Best Home Remedies For Carpal Tunnel
Most people with mild to moderate carpal tunnel syndrome find adequate pain reliefand even reverse the conditionwithout medication by modifying activities and wearing a wrist splint. Even if youre taking medication, you need to include a rigorous regimen of lifestyle changes for carpal tunnel treatment to succeed.
What Are The Early Signs
Typically, the symptoms start out slowly, with burning, numbness, tingling, or pain. You might feel it in your thumb and any of your fingers, but not your pinkie. The strange feeling may also travel up your forearm.
Often, symptoms start at night. Thatâs because most people sleep with their wrists bent, which causes pressure on the median nerve. You might wake up feeling like you need to shake your hands out.
As your condition gets worse, you may notice symptoms during the day, as well. This often happens when youâre doing something where your wrist is bent up or down for a long time, like driving a car, reading a newspaper, or holding your phone.
At first, symptoms tend to come and go. But over time, they occur more often and become worse.
You might also notice other symptoms:
- Your fingers feel swollen, even though they donât look like it.
- Pain and tingling travel up your forearm to your shoulder.
- âShocksâ come and go in your thumb and fingers.
Over time, carpal tunnel can also affect your grip and ability to pinch. Here are some things that could be happening:
- You drop things more often .
- Youâre having a hard time working with small objects, like the buttons on your shirt.
- Itâs harder to make a fist than it used to be.
In more severe cases, you can lose muscle at the base of your thumb. Or you may no longer be able to tell hot from cold just by touch.
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How Is Carpal Tunnel Syndrome Treated
Carpal tunnel syndrome can be treated in two ways: non-surgically or with surgery. There are pros and cons to both approaches. Typically, non-surgical treatments are used for less severe cases and allow you to continue with daily activities without interruption. Surgical treatments can help in more severe cases and have very positive outcomes.
Non-surgical treatments are usually tried first. Treatment begins by:
- Wearing a wrist splint at night.
- Taking nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, such as ibuprofen.
Other treatments focus on ways to change your environment to decrease symptoms. This is often seen in the workplace, where you can make modifications to help with carpal tunnel. These changes might include:
- Raising or lowering your chair.
- Moving your computer keyboard.
- Changing your hand/wrist position while doing activities.
- Using recommended splints, exercises and heat treatments from a hand therapist.
Surgery is recommended when carpal tunnel syndrome does not respond to non-surgical treatments or has already become severe. The goal of surgery is to increase the size of the tunnel in order to decrease the pressure on the nerves and tendons that pass through the space. This is done by cutting the ligament that covers the carpal tunnel at the base of the palm. This ligament is called the transverse carpal ligament.
If you have surgery, you can expect to:
If You Have Wrist Pain You Might Wonder Which Could Be The Culprit Heres What You Need To Know
Youve been experiencing pain in your wrists. At first you might chalk it up sleeping funny, or an overuse injury from your yoga class. But if the pain endures, and depending on the specific mix of your symptoms, you may be wondering whether it could it be carpal tunnel, a form of arthritis, or something else.
For some people, however, its often not an either-or situation. Having arthritis raises your risk of developing carpal tunnel, so you could have both conditions at the same time.
In this article, well explain why arthritis may be a cause of carpal tunnel and share information about carpal tunnel symptoms, diagnosis, and treatment.
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Are There Any Restrictions After Surgery
Your hand will be placed in a lightweight brace following carpal tunnel surgery. As part of the carpal tunnel treatment, you are encouraged to move your fingers after surgery and keep your hand elevated this will reduce the pain and swelling in your hand. Ibuprofen or acetaminophen are usually adequate for any pain you may experience. You should not lift more than a pound, do any forceful gripping, or engage in any repetitive activity until allowed by your surgeon. Both you and the surgeon will discuss when you may return to work, and/or any other restrictions you may have.
What Is The Best Form Of Carpal Tunnel Surgery Recovery
There is a best way to heal from Carpal Tunnel surgery.
But you’re not likely to get it from your doctor.
The standard recovery routine after Carpal Tunnel surgery is pain killers, anti-inflammatory drugs, rest, and then later strengthening exercises and possibly physical therapy.
Unfortunately, that is not the best routine for fast healing from either CTS surgery nor Tendonitis surgery.
If you want to heal fast from the operation, you must follow this three step course of action.
1. Reduce the Inflammation Response.
Surgery causes even more inflammation that there was before. Any time you cut the body you can expect that.
Inflammation makes the structure, and the entire nervous system, VERY UNHAPPY.
If you don’t help the body be happy, you’re going to be hurting for a long time, even after the damage from the actual surgery heals.
Inflammation is an ok mechanism as a protective measure, but not so great at helping you heal.
Most of the pain you had before surgery, and moreso after surgery, is all from the chemical that gets released into the area from the Inflammation Response.
Reduce Inflammation and you will heal faster and feel less pain.
2. Keep danger signals from reaching the nervous system.
This basically means that you want to reduce any stimulus that causes you to feel pain.
Remember, if the nervous system feels pain, it overreacts and tries to protect you with Inflammation.
And when I say ‘rest’ I don’t mean ‘immobilize’.
Then a little more, then a little more.
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Where Is This Tunnel
Take a look at the palm of your hand. Under the skin at your wrist is the tunnel were talking about. Nine tendons and one nerve pass through this tunnel from the forearm to the hand. The bottom and sides of the carpal tunnel are formed by wrist bones, and the top of the tunnel is covered by a strong band of connective tissue called a ligament.
The tendons that run through the tunnel connect muscles to bones and help you use your hand and bend your fingers and thumb. The nerve that passes through the carpal tunnel to reach the hand is the median nerve.
Its pretty tight inside the carpal tunnel. In fact, theres barely enough room for the tendons and the nerve to pass through it. If anything takes up extra room in the canal, the median nerve gets pinched, which causes numbness and tingling in the area of the hand where the nerve spreads out. Swelling can happen when someone does the same thing over and over, like typing. This swelling can pinch the nerve.
What Are The Treatments
The use of a splint, anti-inflammatory medicines or a cortisone injection are the most reliable non-surgical carpal tunnel treatment. If the symptoms are not eliminated or are already severe, carpal tunnel surgery recommended. The goal of carpal tunnel treatment is to relieve the pressure on the nerve. With endoscopic carpal tunnel surgery the procedure is done through a small incision in the wrist. Open carpal tunnel surgery is conducted via an incision in the palm. The surgery is performed in an outpatient facility.
Dr.s Helgemo and Olarte preferred method is endoscopic carpal tunnel surgery. It is done through a ½ inch incision in the wrist and the incision is closed with glue rather than stitches. Prescription pain medication is rarely needed after surgery, and you are able to resume most of your activities immediately. The minimally-invasive nature of this procedure along with the doctors extensive experience have led to excellent results with minimal risks. According recent AHCA data, Dr. Helgemo is Floridas leading endoscopic carpal tunnel surgeon.
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Where Carpal Tunnel Pain Hurts The Most
Exactly where carpal tunnel pain hurts the most varies from person to person. Thats because everybody experiencessymptoms of carpal tunnel syndromea little differently.
In general, pain is usually themajorsymptom, followed by numbness and tingling . The pain can be on any finger except the little finger. It can also include the entire palm of the hand and even the wrist. Sometimes pain shoots from the fingers, through the hand and up the arm.
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