What is carpal tunnel syndrome?
Carpal tunnel syndrome is a condition affecting your wrist that arises when the median nerve gets compressed. Pressure on the nerve where it passes through your wrist causes pain that spreads into the hand and up your arm, which affects the strength and grip in the hand.
The carpal tunnel provides the median nerve’s passageway through your wrist and into your hand. The ligament in the carpal tunnel can thicken so much that it restricts the space available for the median nerve, exerting increasing pressure over time and causing worsening symptoms.
What are the symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome?
At first, you might notice aching in your wrist, especially when you’ve been using it a lot. Gradually the ache might get worse, spreading into your thumb and possibly the first two fingers as well, following the path of the median nerve. You may start feeling pain at times, and notice you’re finding it harder to grip everyday objects.
The pain then starts traveling up your arm and even into your shoulder, a problem that often worsens at night and may well cause you to wake up. These symptoms typically get worse without treatment, until your wrist and arm are giving you constant pain and discomfort and you start dropping things.
What treatments are available for carpal tunnel syndrome?
Because the symptoms are due to pressure on the median nerve, the team at Advanced Pain Modalities needs to focus on removing the pressure. In some cases, the use of a special wrist splint that keeps your wrist straight at night is enough to remedy the problem.
Symptoms are often worse at night because your wrist tends to fold over, increasing the compression. If you wear a splint, it keeps your wrists straight and prevents this problem.
You may also benefit from steroid injections into the wrist to reduce inflammation, and from physical therapy to heal and strengthen the soft tissues. If these conservative measures aren’t helping, you may benefit from a surgical procedure called a carpal tunnel release. This involves cutting the ligament that’s pressing on the median nerve to give the nerve more room, and it’s typically very successful.
If you’re finding your wrist is becoming increasingly uncomfortable and weak, prompt treatment at Advanced Pain Modalities can resolve your pain and restore function. Call today to schedule a consultation, or book an appointment online.