Carpal Tunnel Syndrome or Median Nerve Compression, and Its Treatment
What is Carpal Tunnel Syndrome?
Carpal tunnel syndrome is when the median nerve gets compressed (squeezed) as it goes through the carpal tunnel. The carpal tunnel refers to the opening in your wrist that gets formed by the transverse carpal ligament across the top of the wrist and carpal bones on the bottom of the wrist. The median nerve allows motor and sensory functions to the 3 middle fingers and thumb. If it gets irritated or compressed, you may have symptoms.
What causes carpal tunnel syndrome?
Generally cases of carpal tunnel syndrome don’t have any specific cause. But any or all of the following could be the cause:
● Repetitive, frequent, small movements with the hands like using a keyboard or typing
● Family history of carpal tunnel syndrome
● Repetitive, frequent, grasping movements with the hands like with certain physical activities and sports
● Bone or joint disease - For instance, osteoarthritis, arthritis, or rheumatoid arthritis.
● Metabolic or Hormonal changes - For instance, pregnancy, menopause, or thyroid imbalance.
● Drastic changes in blood sugar levels - For instance, with type 2 diabetes.
● Other injuries or conditions of the wrist - For example, dislocation, strain, break, sprain, or inflammation and swelling.
Who is at risk for carpal tunnel syndrome?
Women have 3 times more chances of developing carpal tunnel syndrome than men. It usually occurs only in adults. You could be at risk if you’re having an underlying health problem like kidney failure or diabetes. These conditions can put you at risk for nerve compression, also carpal tunnel syndrome.
What are the symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome?
These are some of the most commonly reported symptoms:
● Getting "Pins and needles" feeling in the fingers
● Weakness while gripping objects with both hands
● Fingers feel swollen
● Numbness or Pain in both hands
● Numbness or Pain gets worse at night, interrupting sleep
● Tingling or Burning in the fingers, specifically the index, the thumb and middle fingers
The symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome could seem similar to other health problems or conditions. Always see your orthopaedist or doctor for a diagnosis.
How is carpal tunnel syndrome diagnosed?
Your orthopaedist or physical therapist will check your health history and later recommend you a physical exam. They might also recommend electrodiagnostic tests on your nerves. These tests are by far the best and most efficient way to diagnose carpal tunnel syndrome. Electrodiagnostic tests stimulate the nerves and muscles in your hand to see how they work.
How is carpal tunnel syndrome treated?
Your orthopaedist or physical therapist will discuss a variety of treatment options with you. Treatment will majorly depend on your general health, age, and symptoms. It may also depend on the severity of the condition.
Treatment may involve:
● Splinting your hand - This helps you to keep your wrist from moving. By doing this the compression of the nerves inside the tunnel eases.
● Anti-inflammatory medicines - These are taken orally (by mouth) or can also be injected into the carpal tunnel space. These help in easing the swelling.
● Worksite changes - Changing the position of simple everyday things like your computer keyboard or some other ergonomic changes can assist in easing the symptoms.
● Exercise - Strengthening and Stretching exercises can help when your symptoms start to get better. An occupational or physical therapist may also observe you do your exercise routine.
● Surgery - You may require surgery if the condition doesn’t seem to be getting better or go away on its own. The suggested surgery to treat the condition is the carpal tunnel release. This helps in easing compression on the nerves in the carpal tunnel.
If you’re in search of an orthopedist in Bangalore for consultation and treatment with respect to your pain issues in a single or multiple places of your body like: your hamstring, elbow, knee, ankle, shoulder, hand, hip, neck or back, you can get in touch with 1Health Medical Center. Our expert Orthopedist will make all the observations required, recommend the right tests, and finally make use of the test results to arrive at a treatment plan which will help you mitigate the problem.