Carpal tunnel syndrome can seem like such a minor issue, at first. Your wrist hurts from time to time, or you’re feeling some numbness and tingling in your hand. All too soon, however, the nerve entrapment problem is becoming more painful and the symptoms are round the clock, even interfering with your ability to get a good night’s rest. And you want solutions.
You’ve come to the right place, as the team of specialists here at Western Orthopaedics counts wrist and hand issues like carpal tunnel syndrome among the many orthopaedic issues that we routinely address.
Here, we take a look at what’s behind carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS) and how we can help you find relief.
Carpal tunnel syndrome — a common problem
Up to 5% of the global population is affected by carpal tunnel syndrome, which is the most common peripheral nerve compression condition.
Your median nerve is a large nerve that travels from your neck down your arms and into your hands, passing through the small carpal tunnel in the underside of your wrist. This tunnel also provides passage for flexor tendons that control the movements in your fingers, which means space is tight in this small tunnel.
If there’s any swelling in the lining of the nerve, this inflammation can compress the median nerve and lead to symptoms in your wrist and hand that mostly include:
These symptoms often flare at night and disrupt your sleep, as inflammation tends to worsen with inactivity.
Despite what many people believe, anyone can get carpal tunnel syndrome, and it’s not necessarily associated with typing away at a computer. For example, carpal tunnel syndrome due to overuse is often found in factory workers who make repetitive movements with their hands.
Unrelated to movement, pregnant women are also more at risk for CTS because of hormone changes that lead to swelling in the carpal tunnel.
Easing the discomfort of carpal tunnel syndrome
No matter how you came to have carpal tunnel syndrome, our goal is to help you find relief. We typically start out conservatively with:
- Braces that hold your wrist straight, especially while you sleep
- Nerve gliding exercises
- Physical therapy
- Steroid injections
- Activity modifications
As you work through these therapies, you can take over-the-counter anti-inflammatory medications to keep you comfortable.
Should these conservative efforts only provide minimal relief, we might suggest a simple, outpatient surgery to release the nerve entrapment. In fact, carpal tunnel release surgery is one of the most common surgical procedures in the United States.
During this procedure, our surgeons cut a ligament in your carpal tunnel to relieve the pressure on the median nerve. This release should bring you near-immediate relief from your symptoms, as well as long-term protection against CTS.
To figure out which treatment option is best for relieving your carpal tunnel syndrome, please contact one of our offices in Arvada or Denver, Colorado, to schedule a consultation.