The American College of Rheumatology reports that “carpal tunnel syndrome is possibly the most common nerve disorder experienced today” affecting between 4 to 10 million Americans. With onset typically in middle age – and women more than men – the condition can cause a range of debilitating symptoms.
Carpal tunnel syndrome, also called median nerve compression, is typically characterized by pain, weakness, numbness and tingling in the hand and arm. The “carpal tunnel” is located on the palm side of the wrist. This “tunnel” serves to protect a nerve serving the hand and tendons the fingers (except the little finger). When the nerve becomes crowded or pinched, as in the case of a wrist injury or arthritic changes, one may experience the symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome.
The pain and sensations can come and go or be persistent. One may experience temporary relief from conservative treatment options such as:
- Shaking out the hands and wrists
- Resting the hands and arms
- Applying ice packs
- Using wrist splints
- Limiting or avoiding aggravating movements
In some patients, the pain is persistent and affects daily use of the hands. When the symptoms are uncomfortable or inhibit and/or prevent use of the hands and wrists, evaluation from a qualified physician can help determine the cause and treatment options available. An orthopedic hand surgeon is uniquely trained in diagnosing, treating and performing minimally invasive and surgical options for hand and wrist conditions. Treatment will depend on the severity of the condition and typically follows the most conservative steps first. Some options an orthopedic hand surgeon may offer include:
- Anti-inflammatory medications (NSAIDs)
- Lifestyle changes and hand therapy
- Corticosteroid injections (cortisone injected into the joint)
- Surgery – both endoscopic and open surgical procedures
- Post-surgical therapy and prevention techniques
Carolina Spine & Hand offers treatment options including in-office surgery for carpal tunnel syndrome. Please call our office for more information or to schedule a consultation.