Carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS) is the condition of having abnormal pressure on the median nerve as it passes through your wrist. Symptoms include tingling, pain, and numbness in fingers that usually begins gradually and can be severe. The symptoms are brought on by repetitive motions or injuries to the wrist resulting in swelling around the nerve. You can develop CTS if you’re breaking in new shoes, sleeping with your wrists bent under your body during sleep, or working on the computer frequently. Carpal tunnel syndrome is a treatable condition that you can usually resolve with surgery or conservative treatment as recommended by a specialist in carpal tunnel syndrome in Houston.
Symptoms of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
People with carpal tunnel syndrome experience pain, numbness, and tingling sensation in the hand and fingers. The sensation is usually worse at night when you are trying to sleep or first thing in the morning. There can also be a weakness of grip, clumsiness that causes dropping things, issues with coordination, or even a burning sensation.
You may also experience other symptoms such as:
- Weakness of grip
- Tingling in the hand, fingers, and palms
- Burning sensation in the hands
- Numbness or pain that radiates from your wrist to your hand or fingers, especially when you make a fist or grip something tightly
- Inability to fall asleep due to pain at night.
Causes of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
Carpal tunnel syndrome is caused by pressure on the median nerve in your wrist. The median nerve controls feeling to your thumb and fingers, which gives you the ability to feel sensations or pain when injury or pressure is being applied. The median nerve runs from your forearm into a narrow channel called a carpal tunnel located at the palm of your hand.
The median nerve makes a 90-degree turn within the carpal tunnel, which causes it to rub against the bones and ligaments in this area. Any swelling or thickening of these structures (such as during inflammation) narrows the carpal tunnel putting pressure on the median nerve. This condition is held responsible for causing carpal tunnel syndrome.
Treatment Options for Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
Non-surgical treatments include:
- Wear a brace to keep the wrist straight.
- Take anti-inflammatory medications.
- Apply heat or cold to relieve pain.
In some cases, your doctor may provide a steroid injection in the carpal tunnel that decreases swelling in the nerve. If these treatments do not work for you, surgery might be the best option.
Surgery for carpal tunnel syndrome is a standard treatment that allows direct access to your carpal tunnel and median nerve. That is through a small incision on the palm of your hand between your thumb and index finger, which enables the surgeon to release pressure on the carpal tunnel by cutting ligaments within it. The surgery takes 30 minutes to an hour to complete and lets you go home after a few hours of recovery, but it requires avoiding heavy lifting or strenuous activity for up to three weeks.
In summary, carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS) is the condition of having abnormal pressure on the median nerve as it passes through your wrist. It comes with different symptoms such as pain, numbness, and tingling sensation in the hand and fingers.
You may develop the condition due to pressure on the median nerve in your wrist. Treatments range from non-invasive options such as wearing a brace and anti-inflammatory drugs and surgery.