FAQs on Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

 

People who need to sit at a desk and work on their computer all day frequently fall victim to pain in the hands and wrist, which in their harshest form, can turn into an very painful disorder, known as Carpal Tunnel Syndrome (CTS). The name comes from the fact that the pain is caused by pressure being on the median nerve which sits in the carpal tunnel of your wrist.

What Are The Causes of CTS?carpal tunnel syndrome wrist pain photo

 

Carpal Tunnel Syndrome is a result of nerve entrapment; that is, when the tunnel inside the bones of your wrist constricts, the surrounding tissues as well as the median nerve become inflamed. Why is the median nerve so important? Well, it is responsible for providing sensation to the thumb and several fingers, therefore, when pressure is placed on the nerve because of swollen or inflamed tissues, such as ligaments and tendons in the carpal tunnel, extreme pain may result.

 

The individuals who are most at risk of carpal tunnel are typically engaged in repetitive motions throughout the day, such as those who are required to type on their computers for several hours consecutively. Others include:

 

  • Musicians
  • Carpenters
  • Check-out line technicians
  • Assembly line workers
  • Auto mechanics

 

Even hobbies such as gardening, needlework, golfing etc can leadto carpal tunnel syndrome and more often than not, increase the severity of symptoms.

What Are The Symptoms of CTS?

 

It’s important to remember that the typical symptoms of CTS can also be mistaken for other medical conditions and vice versa. Always consult with your first first, before and after the diagnosis. Common carpal tunnel syndrome symptoms are:

 

  • Numbness in the fingers or a feeling of ‘pins and needles’carpal tunnel anatomy picture
  • A burning or tingling in your thumb, index and middle fingers
  • Pain that travels up the arm to your elbow
  • A difficult time gripping or dropping objects
  • Difficulty in making a simple fist
  • A swollen sensation in the fingers

 

A proper workup of an experienced physiatrist is required so that the proper diagnosis of CTS can be made. A standard workup will include:

 

  • A thorough medical history of the patient
  • A comprehensive clinical exam, where the patient will be required to perform certain tasks with the hands. This will determine whether or not carpal tunnel syndrome is a diagnosis
  • Lastly, the physician will confirm their diagnosis through EMG and nerve conduction

What Are The Treatment Options For The Condition?

 

Your physician will start the required treatment, depending on how bad your condition is. Options of therapy include:

 

Carpal tunnel wrist bracing

  • Non-steroidal and anti-inflammatory drugs, i.e. aspirin, ibuprofen and other over-the-counter pain relievers
  • Occupational therapy
  • Wearing of splints to keep the wrist immobilized
  • Corticosteroid injections into the carpal tunnel

 

There is also a possibility that you may need to undergo surgery to effectively treat CTS, if your symptoms do not respond to the above treatments.