Carpal tunnel syndrome is a cumulative trauma condition that occurs when there is pressure on the median nerve in the wrist. This nerve, which passes through the length of the arm and an area of the wrist known as the carpal tunnel, connects to the hand and is responsible for finger movement and sensibility. When the carpal tunnel swells, excessive pressure is applied to the median nerve and leads to carpal tunnel syndrome.
Causes of Carpal Tunnel
Carpal tunnel syndrome is one of the most common overuse injuries and often occurs in people who use their hands a lot for work, sports or other activities. Diabetes, thyroid abnormalities and other medical problems can additionally lead to the development of carpal tunnel syndrome. Some pregnant women also experience this condition. Sometimes, however, the exact cause of carpal tunnel syndrome cannot be determined.
Symptoms of This Condition
Tingling, pain or weakness in the hand or wrist are some of the most common symptoms. Numbness may also be felt in the thumb, index, middle and ring fingers. Feelings of numbness may be especially prevalent when waking up in the morning or in the middle of the night. People who have carpal tunnel syndrome may also find themselves dropping things or performing clumsy motions with their hands.
In addition to the specific causes of carpal tunnel symptoms, certain factors can worsen its symptoms. Typing, driving and other activities that cause the wrist to bend often exacerbate this condition. Sleeping with a bent wrist position is another triggering factor. Some sufferers of carpal tunnel syndrome also say that their symptoms become more intense with high impact or vibration on the palm of the hand.
Non-Surgical Tips and Surgical Treatment of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
A Los Angeles board-certified plastic surgeon can recommend a treatment plan to resolve this medical condition. Anti-inflammatory medication may be prescribed to reduce swelling and alleviate symptoms. Patients may also be instructed to wear wrist splints at night to prevent the wrist from bending and thereby worsening symptoms. Stretching and other hand therapy exercises can sometimes be effective in treating this condition. Injections or surgery may be recommended if other treatments haven’t worked or in severe cases of carpal tunnel syndrome.