Do I Have Carpal Tunnel Syndrome?

Carpal tunnel syndrome is a condition in which the median nerve that runs through the wrist from the hand to the forearm is compressed or squeezed due to inflammation in the passageway for this nerve. Carpal tunnel may have a number of different causes, but it is most often seen as a repetitive stress injury caused by work in an office environment due to frequent typing. Pain and other sensations are typically not related to damage to the nerve itself in patients with carpal tunnel, as the issue is often caused by swelling and thickening of the surrounding soft tissues.

Symptoms

In addition to sharp, piercing pain in the wrists, patients with carpal tunnel syndrome might experience tingling, burning, or numbness in the hands and fingers. Shaking your hand may temporarily relieve symptoms, as this can take some of the pressure off of the median nerve. At first, symptoms may only appear at night, but as the condition worsens, there may be more significant challenges such as decreased grip strength or limited nerve sensation in the hands. Carpal tunnel syndrome can affect anyone who has frequent stress on the hands or wrists, though it is most common in adults. Diabetes and metabolic disorders can raise the risk for carpal tunnel syndrome.

Treatment

If carpal tunnel syndrome is allowed to progress with no treatment, there may be permanent damage to the median nerve. This can create ongoing issues in using the hands and fingers to perform everyday tasks. When carpal tunnel is diagnosed and addressed early, it is less likely to result in permanent anatomical changes. Pain relieving anti-inflammatory drugs may provide temporary relief from symptoms, though these medications should be accompanied by physical therapy to strengthen and stretch the wrist. In cases where conservative treatment does not offer relief or carpal tunnel syndrome has progressed to advanced stages, surgery may be necessary to decompress the median nerve and achieve relief of symptoms.

MK Orthopaedics can help you to become free of the pain associated with carpal tunnel syndrome. Your customized treatment plan may include surgery, physical therapy, or alternative treatments. Learn more a t www.mkortho.org or call us at (815) 741-6900 to schedule a consultation.

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