Have you ever experienced pain or numbness on your hand and ignored it? You might think it’s something that will go away by itself, while it could be something serious. These symptoms could be a sign of carpal tunnel syndrome. It is a severe disease that, if not diagnosed early, requires surgery. So what are the symptoms and treatment options? Let us find out.
What Is Carpal Tunnel Syndrome?
It is a condition caused by the irritation of the wrist’s median nerve. A band of fibrous tissue surrounds the wrist to support the joints. The space between the fibrous band and the wrist cartilage is the carpal tunnel. The median nerve passes in between the carpal tunnel to pick up sensations from the fingers. Therefore any condition that causes pressure or swelling in the tissue can irritate the tunnel causing carpal tunnel syndrome.
Carpal Syndrome Symptoms
This condition’s symptoms start slowly and progress over time. Here are some of the symptoms people with carpal tunnel syndrome show:
- Numbness during the night
- Tingling in the thumb, middle, and index fingers
- Burning sensation or cramping
- Weakness of the hand
- Reduced grip strength
- Decreased feeling at the fingertips
- Sharp shooting pain in the forearm
Diagnosis Of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
The doctor’s first thing is to discuss the symptoms and medical history and examine you. Then other tests are done, which include:
Tinel’s sign: it’s a test where the doctor taps the median nerve to notice if you get a tingling feeling in the fingers.
Phalanx test(wrist flexion test): The doctor rests the elbows on a table and lets the wrist fall forward freely during the test. If you have this condition, you experience numbness and tingling in the fingers in 60 seconds. The quicker the symptoms show, the more severe the condition is.
X-rays: are recommended if there is limited wrist motion or signs of trauma or arthritis.
Electromyography (EMG) and nerve conduction studies: to check how well the median nerve works and how well it controls muscle movement.
Treatment Of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
There are two ways to treat the condition. There are non-surgical and surgical methods. Non-surgical treatments are for less severe cases and allow you to continue with routine daily duties. The surgical option is favorable for severe cases, and it’s very effective.
Specialists In Treating Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
General physicians can check and treat the condition. They include internists, general practices, orthopedics, rheumatologists, and neurologists.
You can get the best ortho doctors in Mumbai at the Nanavati Max Super Speciality Hospital. The hospital offers a team of specialists backed up by an efficient support system to provide treatment for such cases.
The doctor might recommend a non-surgical approach in some cases. These are:
- Wearing a wrist splint
- Ingesting Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medicine like ibuprofen.
- Cortisone injections.
These treatments are mainly done in the hospital. However, other non-surgical treatments focus on certain changes in routine and posture to decrease symptoms. They include:
- Moving your computer keyboard
- Raising or lowering your chair
- Changing your hand position while performing tasks.
- Doing exercises and heat treatments recommended by a physician.
The doctor can advise for surgery if the non-surgical treatments are not working or the case is severe. The main objective of the surgery is to increase the tunnel size to lower the pressure of the nerve and tendons that run across the space. It’s performed by cutting the ligament covering the carpal tunnel at the base of the palm. What To Expect When Having Surgery?
You can avail of an outpatient procedure done by the best ortho doctor in Mumbai, where you will be awake but under local anesthesia. However, in some cases, the doctor may recommend general anesthesia.
- You will experience discomfort after surgery for about 24-72 hours.
- The stitches come out 10-14 days after the operation, after which you will have to perform specific exercises as directed by your doctor to resume your daily activities.
- You can start heavy lifting four to six weeks after surgery, but it depends on age, overall health, and the duration you have had the symptoms.
- Lastly, you will have relief from most carpal tunnel syndrome symptoms after healing.
How To Prevent Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
Carpal tunnel syndrome is a challenging condition to prevent as it may emanate from different causes. However, proper hand and wrist placement can lower factors that lead to these conditions.
Other preventive measures include:
- Ensure your wrist is straight while using tools or writing
- Sleep with the wrist held straight
- Avoid curling and extending your wrists repeatedly
- Reduce repetitive grasping with the wrist in fixed positions.
- Take frequent breaks while executing repetitive activities.
- Do conditioning and stretching workouts before and after strenuous repetitive activities.
- Monitor and treat medical conditions causing carpal tunnel syndrome properly.
Carpal tunnel syndrome is not a medical condition to take lightly. On the contrary, it’s a condition that, if not treated, can cause harm to your hands. So if you notice symptoms, get checked to avoid significant problems later on.