Houston Carpal Tunnel Treatment
What is Carpal Tunnel Syndrome?
Carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS) is a common problem that affects the hand, wrist, and fingers. This condition occurs when there is increased pressure on the median nerve at the wrist.
The median nerve travels from the forearm into the hand through a “tunnel” in your wrist – the carpal tunnel. Wrist bones form the bottom and sides of the tunnel and a ligament covers the top. This tunnel also contains nine tendons. Increased pressure within the carpal tunnel squeezes the median nerve. Eventually, the pressure affects the functioning of the nerve which may result in numbness, tingling, and pain.
Carpal Tunnel (CTS) Diagnosis
Your doctor may confirm the diagnosis of CTS by the following: a physical examination, an x-ray and an EMG (electromyography) or NCS (nerve conduction study) will be ordered to determine the severity of the CTS.
Causes include anything that causes swelling of the tendons or decreases the space in the carpal tunnel, such as, repetitive use of the hand and wrist or regular use of vibrating instruments. Some other causes could be, fractures (broken bones in the hand or wrist) arthritis, thyroid disease, diabetes, and pregnancy.
Symptoms of CTS may include: numbness and tingling in the hand (often at night or after use), aching or pain that may radiate up the forearm towards the shoulder, a feeling that you have “poor circulation” making you shake your hands to try and restore the circulation, and clumsiness or weakness in handling objects.
Carpal Tunnel Release Treatments
- Wearing a wrist splint to keep the wrist from bending may treat mild cases.
- Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medications may be prescribed to decrease swelling and pain.
- A small cortisone injection into the carpal tunnel may be given to decrease inflammation.
If these simple measures fail to control your symptoms, a carpal tunnel release may be required to reduce the pressure on the median nerve and prevent irreversible damage. KSF offers patients the option of endoscopic carpal tunnel release or mini-open carpal tunnel release. Both surgeries are offered as outpatient procedures. Learn more about carpal tunnel syndrome here.