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.
What Is Carpal Tunnel Surgery
In almost all situations, carpal tunnel surgery involves cutting the transverse carpal ligament on the palm side of the hand in order to relieve pressure on the median nerve in the wrist.
One of the factors influencing response rates is the choice of surgeries. In recent years, many surgeons have turned to endoscopic carpal tunnel release as an alternative to traditional open surgery, which has been shown to require shorter recovery times and allow people to return to work sooner.
This is not to suggest that endoscopic surgery is “better” than open surgery. In the end, there are pros and cons to each that need to be weighed with your doctor, as detailed in a 2019 review published in Current Review of Musculoskeletal Medicine.
Fewer complications per 1,000 surgeries
Faster return to work
Scars are smaller and tend to be less sensitive or obvious
Generally speaking, open and endoscopic carpal tunnel surgeries have similar response rates. Although the endoscopic approach allows for faster recovery times with less scarring, open surgery is associated with slightly fewer complications and costs less.
How Can You Keep Carpal Tunnel Syndrome From Coming Back
To keep carpal tunnel syndrome from coming back, take care of your basic health. Stay at a healthy weight. Don’t smoke. Exercise to stay strong and flexible. If you have a long-term health problem, such as arthritis or diabetes, follow your doctor’s advice for keeping your condition under control.
You can also try to take good care of your wrists and hands:
- Try to keep your wrist in a neutral position.
- Use your whole handnot just your fingersto hold objects.
- When you type, keep your wrists straight, with your hands a little higher than your wrists. Relax your shoulders when your arms are at your sides.
- If you can, switch hands often when you repeat movements.
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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!
How Is It Treated
Mild symptoms usually can be treated with home care. You can:
- Stop activities that cause numbness and pain. Rest your wrist longer between activities.
- Ice your wrist for 10 to 15 minutes 1 or 2 times an hour.
- Try taking non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs to relieve pain and reduce swelling.
- Wear a wrist splint at night. This takes pressure off your median nerve.
The sooner you start treatment, the better your chances of stopping symptoms and preventing long-term damage to the nerve.
You also may need medicine for carpal tunnel syndrome or for a health problem that made you likely to get carpal tunnel syndrome.
Surgery is an option. But it’s usually used only when symptoms are so bad that you can’t work or do other things even after several weeks to months of other treatment.
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Can This Injury Or Condition Be Prevented
There is no single proven strategy for preventing CTS, but there are ways to reduce stress to your hands and wrists. Since there are several factors that can contribute to developing CTS, one single solution may not be effective.
The following are effective ways to decrease stress to your hands and wrists:
Does Massage Help Carpal Tunnel
Massage therapy is an effective way to help relieve symptoms related to CTS and can be used preventively. Massage therapy can help treat CTS by reducing inflammation, pain, and numbness in the carpal tunnel. This happens by lengthening the muscles and fascia of the neck, shoulders, arms, wrists and hand.
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How Can You Tell The Difference Between Carpal Tunnel And Arthritis
Carpal tunnel syndrome can cause weakness, tingling, or numbness in the hand. Arthritis can also cause pain and make it hard to understand things, but for completely different reasons. Carpal tunnel syndrome is caused by nerve compression and arthritis is caused by inflammation and damage to the joint.
What To Think About
Medicine should be used with other measures to reduce pain and inflammation.
- Usually aren’t used until non-surgical treatments have been tried for several weeks with no improvement.
- Often provide temporary relief . Injected corticosteroids usually provide longer-lasting results than those taken by mouth . But oral or injected medicines rarely provide permanent relief from carpal tunnel symptoms.
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How Can I Prevent My Hands From Going Numb When I Sleep
Try a new sleeping position, especially on your side. Avoid lying on your arms under your pillow, which can compress nerves. Make sure your wrists are not bent, as bending can cause tingling. If you often sleep on your back with your arms above your head, try keeping them close to you to reduce pinching of nerves.
Home Remedies For Carpal Tunnel Relief
While carpal tunnel syndrome can be uncomfortable or painful, you can treat it at home. The first step to take is to stop the activity that is causing the compression.
Think about the activities that you think might be causing numbness and pain in your wrist and try to stop or reduce them, Dr. Seitz says. You can resume the activity when your symptoms improve.
Here are five ways you can treat your carpal tunnel syndrome at home.
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Take Caution With Use Of Nsaids
Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs are oral medications used to reduce pain and inflammation. Examples are ibuprofen and naproxen, which can be purchased over-the-counter. Some patients can have short-term relief of CTS symptoms with these medications. However, most research studies do not recommend using NSAIDs for CTS treatment, especially long-term. Use of NSAIDs is associated with increased risk of gastrointestinal bleeding, kidney disease, and heart attack. These risks increase in patients with certain medical problems and when used long-term or at higher doses.
Can Carpal Tunnel Go Away Without Treatment
If youre like most people, you probably try to avoid surgery as much as possible unless it is absolutely necessary. Of course, surgery is unavoidable in certain cases and can be a highly beneficial or even life-saving step for many patients. When it comes to carpal tunnel syndrome, which affects hundreds of thousands of men and women each year, the decision on whether to undergo surgery can be difficult. Many patients wonder if their carpal tunnel can resolve on its own or with conservative, at-home remedies. Orthopedic expert Dr. Christopher Williams and the knowledgeable team at Interventional Orthopedics of Atlanta fully understand the desire to avoid surgery as a first step and are proud to offer a number of nonsurgical alternatives to help alleviate carpal tunnel symptoms when possible. Learn more about carpal tunnel treatment methods here, and find out when surgery may ultimately be your best option.
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What Are The Symptoms Of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
These are the most common symptoms:
Weakness when gripping objects with one or both hands
Pain or numbness in one or both hands
“Pins and needles” feeling in the fingers
Swollen feeling in the fingers
Burning or tingling in the fingers, especially the thumb and the index and middle fingers
Pain or numbness that is worse at night, interrupting sleep
The symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome may be similar to other medical conditions or problems. Always see your health care provider for a diagnosis.
Carpal Tunnel Syndrome | FAQ with Dr. Sophia Strike
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 .
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Hand And Wrist Stretches
A physical therapist, occupational therapist, or certified hand therapist can teach you exercises which you can learn to do on your own. Nerve and tendon gliding exercises have been shown to be helpful in carpal tunnel syndrome. Simple exercises I have found helpful are stretches which involve the fingers and wrist, pulling them back into extension and holding the stretch for 20 seconds, then relaxing. This can be repeated for up to 5 minutes per session, 2-3 times per day. This stretch shouldnt be painful or done with excessive force. Therapists can also do therapeutic ultrasound and iontophoresis treatments which can help reduce symptoms.
So Your Instincts To Look For An Alternative Natural Treatment Or Cure For Carpal Tunnel Makes A Lot Of Sense
The good news is Doctors have developed a natural treatment for Carpal Tunnel that you can do at home with no downtime, no restrictive wrist splints and no injections. The treatment is called the Carpal Solution Therapy.
It involves 224 hours of gentle targeted stretching to jump start your bodys natural healing process again.
Sounds intense right?
The truth is, it is really easy. You simply place the Carpal Solution Stretch Taping System on your hands before going to bed each night for two weeks and every other night for four weeks.
The Carpal Solution Devices stretch your hand gently in three key places for 6 8 hours while you sleep.
This natural stretching restores flexibility to the injured soft tissue, it also restores normal blood circulation to the injured tissue. Lymphatic fluid is dispersed eliminating any swelling or micro-swelling.
Your bodys natural healing process takes over once you remove the obstacles to the healing process.
Injured soft tissue loses its flexibility and contracts pinching the area around the Carpal Tunnel which houses the Median Nerve. Also, swelling or lymphatic fluid puts pressure on the Median Nerve in the Carpal Tunnel and also blocks circulation.
Like Carpal Tunnel Surgery, CTS will come back even after treatment with the Carpal Solution, but it is simple and inexpensive to treat when it does come back and it is reimbursed by health insurance.
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Acupressure To Manage Carpal Tunnel Without Surgery
One such method is acupressure. In this method, the pressure is applied with the fingers on particular pressure points on the body to bring about pain relief. At the same time, improve circulation and enhance the innate ability of the body to heal.
You can do this yourself at home if you know the points. One such point is at the crease of the elbow on the outer side of the tendon when you make a fist keeping the arm straight.
Apply moderate pressure with the index finger only on this point, for 2-3 minutes at a time. Done regularly, this will ease the symptoms considerably.
What Increases Your Risk
Things that put you at risk for carpal tunnel syndrome include:
- Health problems or illnesses that can cause arm pain or swelling in the joints and soft tissues in the arm, or reduce the blood flow to the hands. These include obesity, rheumatoid arthritis, diabetes, lupus, hypothyroidism, and multiple sclerosis.
- Being female. Women between the ages of 40 and 60 have the highest risk. Pregnant women near the end of their pregnancies often have short-term symptoms. Women taking birth control pills, going through menopause, or taking estrogen are also thought to be at risk.
- Hand and wrist movements and activities that require repeated motions, especially in awkward positions.
- Smoking. It may contribute to carpal tunnel syndrome by affecting the blood flow to the median nerve.
- Broken wrist bones, dislocated bones, new bone growth from healing bones, or bone spurs. These can take up space in the carpal tunnel and put more pressure on the median nerve.
- Tumours and other growths . These uncommon causes of carpal tunnel syndrome are usually benign.
- Normal wear and tear of the tissues in the hand and wrist caused by aging.
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Purpose Of Carpal Tunnel Surgery
The median nerve, which starts at the shoulder and extends down to the tips of the fingers, is one of the major nerves of the upper extremities. This nerve not only directs the contractions of muscles in the forearm and hand but provides sensation to the hands and fingers.
When the median nerve is compressed in the carpal tunnela narrow passageway from the wrist to the hand that’s made of tendons, ligaments, and bonessymptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome can develop and, over time, become chronic.
Carpal tunnel surgery is generally indicated when you fail to respond to conservative therapies after more than six months.
From a physiological standpoint, surgery should be pursued if carpal tunnel syndrome manifests with the following features:
- Severe chronic pain
- Inability to place the thumb in a perpendicular position
- Loss of finger dexterity
- Loss of protective sensation in the fingers and hand
- Loss of two-point discrimination, the ability to discern two separate objects touching the skin at the same time
Carpal Tunnel Syndrome Doctor Discussion Guide
Get our printable guide for your next doctor’s appointment to help you ask the right questions.
How To Treat Carpal Tunnel Syndrome Without Surgery
Im writing this article for people who want to avoid carpal tunnel surgery. Yes, I am a hand surgeon but Im also a physician, and part of our jobs as physicians is to educate patients about prevention of disease. Hopefully I can teach people about ways to reduce the risk of carpal tunnel syndrome and provide options for treatment prior to requiring surgery. As a disclaimer, patients who have severe carpal tunnel syndrome should be evaluated promptly and not delay treatment unnecessarily. Constant numbness in the hand and loss of muscle mass at the base of the thumb are signs of nerve damage and severe CTS. Surgery is the best way to prevent the nerve from being damaged irreversibly. If people wait too long before having surgery, some of the hand numbness can be permanent. Also, not all hand pain, numbness, and tingling are caused by CTS. If your symptoms are progressive, severe, or not responding to treatment, get an evaluation by a hand specialist or primary care physician sooner rather than later. The recommendations below are intended for patients with mild to moderate CTS symptoms, or in people who want to prevent the symptoms from occurring in the first place. There are some things we cant change about our health, such as our family history, age and anatomy, but there are many things which we can modify.Helpful things to do other than surgery for carpal tunnel syndrome:
Treatments which are NOT helpful for CTS:
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Can Carpal Tunnel Release Surgery Help Someone With Nerve Damage Fully Recover
Carpal tunnel release surgery may relieve Carpal Tunnel Syndrome pain, but if the median nerve was compressed long enough to have caused nerve damage, the nerve might not fully regain sensation. Physical therapy may help people regain some sensation or function on a case-by-case basis. Due to the risk of permanent nerve damage, doctors recommend that patients undergo carpal tunnel release surgery for severe symptoms sooner rather than later.
Treatment For Severe Symptoms
If symptoms persist for more than 6 months and are interfering with your daily life and work activities, despite self-care and treatment, you may need surgery. Surgery relieves pressure on the trapped nerve and aims to prevent any permanent nerve damage. Your doctor will be able to discuss the most suitable method of surgery with you.
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Severe Cases Of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
If you try the above tips for relieving some of your carpal tunnel syndrome symptoms and you are still experiencing pain and other issues. As a result, talk to your doctor about the different options that might be available to help give you some relief.
Corticosteroids might be given to you by your doctor as a way to ease the inflammation and pain that you are experiencing. These steroids will help to reduce the amount of pressure and swelling that is being placed on the median nerves. An injection will be more effective than taking oral steroids. If your carpal tunnel is caused by an inflammatory condition such as arthritis, these shots can be therapeutic.
For those who have severe carpal tunnel syndrome, surgery might be recommended to alleviate some of the pressure on the nerve. Surgery will often involve making an incision or two in the area that is affected and then cutting the ligament that is causing the problems. This helps to increase the space near the nerve. Eventually, the ligament grows back with more room for the nerve than there was previously. If you have a severe carpal tunnel, your symptoms may not completely disappear with surgery. Still, it should help prevent further damage to the nerve and help you feel a bit better.