Do you have carpal tunnel syndrome (CPS)? If you have pain, numbness, and tingling in your fingers and wrist, you may be one of the 3-6% of adults in the United States that have this common nerve condition.
Carpal tunnel syndrome is essentially a pinched nerve. The median nerve runs through the carpal tunnel, which connects your forearm to your hand’s palm. When this tunnel gets inflamed or compressed, it can pinch the nerve, causing pain and weakness.
Our expert orthopedic surgeons at Douglas J. Abeles MD & Associates can provide an accurate diagnosis and treatment plan to help relieve carpal tunnel syndrome pain and other symptoms.
What causes carpal tunnel syndrome?
Many factors can contribute to carpal tunnel compression. In some cases, it’s a combination of things. Carpal tunnel syndrome is more common in women and people who are obese. Other risk factors include:
Some people have smaller or narrower carpal tunnels than others. For example, women may have smaller carpal tunnel areas, which may make them more prone to developing this condition.
Jobs that require repetitive motions
Repeating the same motions, such as typing or operating machinery, can put stress on the tendons over time. This stress and aggravation of the tendons can make them swell and put pressure on the median nerve.
In some cases, the position of your hand and wrist while doing certain activities puts pressure on the nerve, especially if they are in that position for prolonged periods.
Certain health conditions
Health issues that can contribute to inflammation, such as an overactive pituitary gland, an underactive thyroid gland, and rheumatoid arthritis, can lead to a compressed carpal tunnel area.
A wrist or hand injury such as a sprain or fracture, can lead to swelling of the tendons and compression of the nerve.
Carpal tunnel syndrome treatment options
Treatment recommendations depend on the cause or causes that led to carpal tunnel syndrome. Treatment options may include:
- Changing the setup of your work environment
- Splinting your wrist while you work or sleep
- Corticosteroid injections
- Over-the-counter anti-inflammatory medications
- Taking a break or rest from moving your hands and wrist
Carpal tunnel surgery
If noninvasive or minimally invasive treatment options fail to reduce your pain and symptoms, surgery may be an option. Carpal tunnel release is one of the most common procedures in the country.
The surgery involves cutting the ligament that contacts the median nerve to allow more clearance and relieve the pressure. After the surgery, the ligament tissues steadily grow back together while providing more room for the nerve.
If you have or think you have carpal tunnel syndrome and need relief, call us at Douglas J. Abeles MD & Associates in Castro Valley, California, to learn about effective treatment options.