Carpal Tunnel Syndrome can result from everyday activities. Carpal tunnel can begin as a tingling or numbness in your hands and arms. This typically starts out slowly. It can affect just one or both of your hands. More serious cases of carpal tunnel may cause numbness, pain in the fingers, and weakness in the wrist.
Carpal Tunnel Syndrome pain is caused by pressure on the median nerve in the wrist. This nerve runs from the forearm to the hand through a small space in the wrist called the carpal tunnel. This nerve controls the movement and feeling in the thumb and the first three fingers. Pressure from the swelling in this nerve causes the tingling, numbness, weakness, and pain in the fingers and hands. Some people will have pain radiating up between their hand and their elbow.
Symptoms most often occur in the thumb, index finger, middle finger, and half of the ring finger. If you have problems with your other fingers but your little finger is fine, this may be a sign that you have carpal tunnel syndrome.
Home care for mild symptoms. You can:
• Stop activities that cause numbness and pain. Rest your wrist between activities.
• Ice your wrist for 10 to 15 minutes 1 or 2 times an hour.
• Try taking nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs to relieve pain and reduce swelling.
• Wear a wrist splint at night. This takes pressure off your median nerve.
To keep carpal tunnel syndrome from coming back, take care of your basic health. Stay at a healthy weight. Don’t smoke. Exercise to stay strong and flexible. If you have a long-term health problem, such as arthritis or diabetes, follow your doctor’s advice for keeping your condition under control.
Take care of your wrists and hands:
• Try to keep your wrist in a neutral position.
• Use your whole hand-not just your fingers-to hold objects.
• When you type, keep your wrists straight, with your hands a little higher than your wrists. Relax your shoulders when your arms are at your sides.
• If you can, switch hands often when you repeat movements.
Serious cases of carpal tunnel syndrome require stronger treatment for relief. Your doctor may recommend corticosteroids to lessen your pain and inflammation. These drugs reduce the amount of swelling and pressure placed on the median nerve. Injections are more effective than oral steroids. This therapy may be particularly effective if your symptoms are caused by inflammatory conditions, such as rheumatoid arthritis.
Your doctor may also recommend surgery to relieve pressure on the nerve. This typically involves making one or two incisions in the area affected and cutting the ligament involved. This will release the nerve and increase the space around the nerve.
Contact our pain specialist at Florida Pain Medicine today. The sooner you start treatment, the better your chances of stopping symptoms and preventing long-term damage to the nerve.