The carpal tunnel is the narrow passageway in the wrist that contains the median nerve. The median nerve allows for feeling in the thumb, index, middle and part of the ring finger. Carpal tunnel syndrome is a relatively common condition that occurs when the inside of the wrist swells, compressing the median nerve.
Carpal tunnel syndrome may occur in one or both of the wrists, depending on what caused the inflammation to occur. Typically, repetitive motions are the source of carpal tunnel syndrome, so office workers (receptionists, typists, writers, etc.) and assembly line workers are two of the most commonly affected groups.
Carpal Tunnel Symptoms
Symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome may be felt anywhere along the path of the median nerve from the middle of the arm through to the tips of the fingers. Common symptoms include:
- Numbness, tingling or pain in the fingers
- Pain that radiates up the arm
- Wrist pain
- Sudden weakness in the hand
Carpal Tunnel Causes
The pain and symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome are the result of swelling and inflammation within the wrist. Inflammation and swelling may be the result of an underlying medical condition, overuse, injury or repeated motions. Typical causes of carpal tunnel syndrome include:
- Fluid retention from pregnancy or menopause
- Trauma to the wrist
- Improper positioning of the wrist while typing
- Prolonged exposure to vibrations from power tools
- Repeated motions such as playing the piano or working assembly lines
Carpal Tunnel Treatment
Treatment of carpal tunnel syndrome depends on the severity of the condition. Surgery is only considered for treating carpal tunnel if there is severe damage to the median nerve. The specialists at Brain2Spine Institute work to remove pressure from the median nerve through conservative modalities first, including:
- Wrist splints that hold the hand in a neutral position
- Medication to relieve pain and reduce inflammation
- Treatment of any underlying conditions
- Steroid injections to reduce inflammation
For a comprehensive evaluation from the experts at Brain2Spine Institute, call 727-828-8400.