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.
What Are The Occupational Factors Of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
The National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke indicates that carpal tunnel syndrome is “often the result of a combination of factors that increase pressure on the median nerve and tendons in the carpal tunnel, rather than a problem with the nerve itself”.
Carpal tunnel syndrome has been associated with certain tasks including:
- Repetitive hand motions.
- Mechanical stress on the palm.
Those workers performing assembly line work – including manufacturing, finishing, cleaning, and meat/poultry/fish packaging – commonly report this injury. Cashiers, hairdressers, or knitters or sewers are examples of people whose work-related tasks involve the repetitive wrist movements associated with carpal tunnel syndrome. Bakers who flex or extend the wrist while kneading dough, and people who flex the fingers and wrist in tasks such as milking cows, using a spray paint gun, and hand-weeding are other examples. Excessive use of vibrating hand tools may also be related to carpal tunnel syndrome.
A possible link between carpal tunnel syndrome and computer mouse use is uncertain. While keyboarding work is generally not a risk factor for developing carpal tunnel syndrome, it can cause pain and exacerbate symptoms for those who already have the condition.
Note that the repetitive motions required for keyboard work and the use of a computer mouse may be related to the development of other injuries.
- Use of oral contraceptives.
How Long Does The Steroid Injection Last And Are There Any Side Effects
While steroid injections might completely resolve CTS symptoms, often their beneficial effect wears off within two and a half months. For those with persistent CTS symptoms, surgery might be the next step in treatment, though some people continue with the steroid injections for a while despite the increased risk of tendon or nerve damage.
As for side effects, minor to moderate pain in the hand is common but usually goes away in a few days. Infection can also be an unwanted side effect as can more serious side effects like nerve damage. However, serious complications are very rare.
Also Check: How To Fake A Broken Wrist
What If These Treatments Dont Help
In some cases, surgery is needed to make the symptoms go away completely. The surgery involves cutting the;ligament;that may be pressing on your median nerve. Youll usually get back the normal use of your wrist and hand within a few weeks to a few months after surgery.
Doing the hand, wrist, and finger exercises that your doctor tells you to do after surgery is very important. Without exercise, your wrist may get stiff, and you may lose some use of your hand.
What Are The Risks Of Carpal Tunnel Surgery
What can you not do after carpal tunnel surgery?
What is the success rate of the carpal tunnel surgery?
Complications of carpal tunnel release surgery
What are the risks of carpal tunnel surgery?
Most people who have carpal tunnel surgery find that their symptoms get cured and dont come back. If you have a very severe case, surgery can still help, but you may still feel numbness, tingling, or pain from time to time. Side-effects are the unwanted, but often mild and temporary problems you may expect to happen as a result of surgery.
Risks come with any operation. For both types of carpal tunnel release surgery, they include:
- Damage to your median nerve or nearby nerves and blood vessels
- Infection of your wound
- A scar that hurts to touch
Read more about :;Heart attack
Specific Risks of Carpal Tunnel Surgery:
What can you not do after carpal tunnel surgery?
If you had open surgery on your dominant hand and you do repeated actions at work, you may be able to return to work in;6 to 8 weeks. For up to 2 weeks;after surgery,;avoid;lifting things heavier than 0.5 to 1 kilogram and using your hand. This includes;doing;repeated arm or hand movements, such as typing or using a computer mouse, washing windows, vacuuming, or chopping food.;Do not;use power tools, and;avoid;activities that cause vibration.
What is the success rate of the carpal tunnel surgery?
;Surgery for carpal tunnel syndrome has a very high success rate of over;90%.
Read Also: Difference Between Broken And Sprained Wrist
When Should I Call A Doctor
Anytime you have any of the common symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome on a regular basis. When you get care early on, you may find that basic options, such as rest or wearing a wrist brace, work well. Thatâll allow you to avoid more serious treatment like surgery. Without any treatment, your symptoms could become permanent.
How Is Carpal Tunnel Syndrome Recognized
People who suspect carpal tunnel syndrome often consult a doctor. The evaluation of occupational carpal tunnel syndrome includes identifying workplace risks. Evaluation begins with a discussion of the person’s employment and requires a detailed description of all the processes involved in a typical day’s work. It also requires consideration of the frequency, intensity, duration and regularity of each task performed at work. Diagnosis of carpal tunnel syndrome is confirmed by performing certain tests to detect damage to the median nerve.
- Tinel’s test – The physician taps the median nerve at the wrist. A tingling response in one or more fingers indicates damage to the median nerve.
- Phalen’s test – The patient puts the backs of the hands together and bends the wrists for one minute. Tingling of the fingers indicates damage to the median nerve.
- Electromyography – Electrodes are placed on the forearm and electrical current is passed through the patient. Measurements on how fast and how well the median nerve transmits messages to muscles indicate if there is damage to this nerve.
Also Check: How To Relieve Sciatica Nerve Pain
Why Is Carpal Tunnel Surgery Performed
Your doctor may recommend a carpal tunnel release procedure to treat carpal tunnel syndrome. Carpal tunnel syndrome is often associated with repetitive actions of the hands and wrists. Examples include long-term keyboarding, use of vibrating tools, or assembly line jobs.;
These actions can cause swelling and increased pressure on the median nerve over time. This can lead to pain and numbness that can become disabling. Other conditions that are linked to carpal tunnel syndrome include , pregnancy, , a hand or wrist injury, and .;
Doctors generally do not consider carpal tunnel release surgery unless less invasive treatments have been ineffective. Ask your doctor about all of your treatment options and consider getting a second opinion before deciding on carpal tunnel release. Other treatments include:
What Are The Symptoms Of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
Symptoms usually begin slowly and can occur at any time. Early symptoms include:
- Numbness at night.
- Tingling and/or pain in the fingers .
In fact, because some people sleep with their wrists curled, nighttime symptoms are common and can wake people from sleep. These nighttime symptoms are often the first reported symptoms. Shaking the hands helps relieve symptoms in the early stage of the condition.
Common daytime symptoms can include:
- Tingling in the fingers.
As carpal tunnel syndrome worsens, symptoms become more constant. These symptoms can include:
- Weakness in the hand.
- Inability to perform tasks that require delicate motions .
- Dropping objects.
In the most severe condition, the muscles at the base of the thumb visibly shrink in size .
Recommended Reading: Can Eating Gluten Cause Stomach Pain
How Often Is Hand Pain Caused By Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
While carpal tunnel syndrome is a common condition, it has a different set of symptoms from many other sources of hand pain. There are actually several similar conditions that cause hand pain. These include:
- De Quervains tendinosis: A condition where swelling affects the wrist and base of the thumb. In this condition, you will feel pain when you make a fist and simulate shaking someones hand.
- Trigger finger: This condition causes soreness at the base of the finger or thumb. Trigger finger also causes pain, locking and stiffness when bending the fingers and thumb.
- Arthritis: This is a general term for many conditions that cause stiffness and swelling in your joints. Arthritis can impact many joints in your body and ranges from causing small amounts of discomfort to breaking down the joint over time .
How Does Carpal Tunnel Syndrome Develop
Bending the wrist or moving the fingers brings muscles and tendons into action. For example, when a person bends a finger, the tendon moves about two inches. The tendons of the hand are encased in sheaths, or sleeves through which the tendons slide. The inner wall of the sheaths contains cells that produce a slippery fluid to lubricate the tendons. Lubrication is essential for the normal and smooth functioning of the tendons. With repetitive or excessive movement of the hand, the lubrication system may malfunction. It may not produce enough fluid or it may produce a fluid with poor lubricating qualities. Failure of the lubricating system creates friction between the tendon and its sheath causing inflammation and swelling of the tendon area. In turn, the swelling squeezes the median nerve in the wrist or carpal tunnel. Repeated episodes of inflammation cause fibrous tissue to form. The fibrous tissue thickens the tendon sheath, and hinders tendon movement.
You May Like: How To Relieve Shoulder Pain From Sleeping On Side
What Are The Benefits Of A Carpal Tunnel Ultrasound And Injection
Sometimes the ultrasound is carried out for diagnostic reasons, if your doctor is uncertain as to the cause of your symptoms.
The aim of the injection is to provide symptom relief. A good response to the injection confirms the diagnosis of carpal tunnel syndrome. A lack of response indicates the pain is unlikely to be due to carpal tunnel syndrome. Although having the injection might not result in any improvement in your symptoms, it can be helpful information for your doctor, as it means that other possible causes need to be investigated.
The relief of symptoms might last a few weeks or several months. Occasionally, , the symptoms resolve completely.
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.
Recommended Reading: What Dr To See For Wrist Pain
Research And Possible Risk Factors
Researchers have found that a previous wrist fracture and the use of insulin, metformin, and sulphonylureas are associated with a higher chance of CTS. Smoking, hormone replacement therapy , the combined oral contraceptive pill, and oral corticosteroids did not appear to be not linked to a higher risk of CTS.
One study has suggested that obesity, combined with a square-shaped wrist shape, may increase the likelihood of CTS developing. However, the team concluded that obesity was probably not the cause, because when participants with obesity lost weight, they continued to have CTS.
The same team concluded in other research that the age of women at the menopause might be a factor, and that pregnancy-related hormones may increase the risk of CTS in women at the time of the menopause.
Apart from work-related factors, the main risk for CTS is inflammatory arthritis, but hypothyroidism and diabetes also appear to increase the chance of developing it, according to research published in the Journal of General Internal Medicine.
The National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke says that CTS is three times more likely to occur among people working in assembly operations than in data-entry personnel.
The Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety list the following occupations as risk factors for CTS:
According to the National Library of Medicine, there is
Surgery For Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
Surgery for carpal tunnel syndrome is;usually done as;an outpatient.;Two types of carpal tunnel surgery are done: open surgery and endoscopic surgery.;You may have local or general anesthesia, or both, for either surgery.
During;open surgery, the surgeon;cuts open;your wrist.;The tissue that is pressing on the nerves;is cut. This relieves;the pressure on the nerve.
During;endoscopic surgery, the surgeon;puts a long, thin rod through a tiny cut on the wrist. The rod, or scope, contains a camera and a light. The scope lets;the surgeon;to see inside your wrist. He or she cuts the tissue;using tiny surgical tools.
After the surgery,;your hand and;wrist;are wrapped and put into a;splint. This will help;to keep you from moving your wrist during your recovery.;You will need to wear the splint for a week or two. You will probably have some pain after your surgery.;It’s usually controlled;with pain medication taken by mouth. You may also be told to sleep with;your hand elevated to help ease swelling.
Recovery from carpal tunnel surgery is different for each person. If;your nerve has been compressed for a long;time, recovery may take longer. You will be encouraged to move your;fingers and wrist a few days after surgery to help prevent stiffness.
You may need to adjust your work or home activities while you recover. Talk with your health care provider about what you need to change.
You May Like: Can A Shoulder Injury Cause Lower Back Pain
Carpal Tunnel Syndrome Surgery
If your CTS is getting worse and other treatments have not worked, the GP might refer you to a specialist to discuss surgery.
Surgery usually cures CTS. You and your specialist will decide together if it’s the right treatment for you.
An injection numbs your wrist so you do not feel pain and a small cut is made in your hand. The carpal tunnel inside your wrist is cut so it no longer puts pressure on the nerve.
The operation takes around 20 minutes and you do not have to stay in hospital overnight.
It can take a month after the operation to get back to normal activities.
What Are The Risks And Potential Complications Of Carpal Tunnel Surgery
As with all surgeries, carpal tunnel release involves risks and possible complications. Complications may become serious and life threatening in some cases. Complications can develop during surgery or recovery.
Complications of carpal tunnel release are uncommon but include:;
Adverse reaction or problems related to sedation or medications, such as an and problems with breathing
Read Also: Can Anxiety Cause Shoulder Blade Pain
Carpal Tunnel Syndrome Diagnosis
The other day I was flying across the country and exited thein-flight lavatory to find my flight attendant standing in the backkitchen. She was holding an ice pack over her wrist. Shespontaneously blurted out in explanation, “My carpal tunnel is actingup.” She then showed me where she was having pain and tendernessalong the tendon of the thumb side of her wrist.
People with carpal tunnel syndrome initially feel numbness and tingling of the hand in the distribution of the median nerve . These sensations are often more pronounced at night and can awaken people from sleep. The reason symptoms are worse at night may be related to the flexed-wrist sleeping position and/or fluid accumulating around the wrist and hand while lying flat. Carpal tunnel syndrome may be a temporary condition that completely resolves or it can persist and progress.
As the disease progresses, patients can develop a burning sensation, and/or cramping and weakness of the hand. Decreased grip strength can lead to frequent dropping of objects from the hand. Occasionally, sharp shooting pains can be felt in the forearm. Chronic carpal tunnel syndrome can also lead to wasting of the hand muscles, particularly those near the base of the thumb in the palm of the hand.
Ignoring Symptoms Of This Carpal Tunnel Syndrome Can Lead To Permanent Nerve Damage
First, you may notice tingling or numbness in your fingers that comes and goes. Over time, the sensations may get worse, lasting longer or even waking you up at night. Eventually the pain and numbness might even make it hard to grip things like a fork, a pen, or other objects.
If you’re having these symptoms, it could be carpal tunnel syndrome, which occurs when the median nerve which runs down your arm and into your hand is compressed by a ligament that crosses over it as it passes through a narrow space in the wrist known as the carpal tunnel.
“Carpal tunnel syndrome has classic symptoms, which include numbness and tingling in the thumb, index finger, middle finger, and half of the ring finger,” says Dr. Tamara Rozental, professor of orthopedic surgery at Harvard Medical School and chief of hand and upper extremity surgery at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center. Your little finger is typically not affected because a different nerve serves it.
Don’t Miss: How Do You Get Rid Of Shoulder Blade Pain Fast