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Carpal Tunnel Slowing You Down?

As many as 6 million American adults may suffer from carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS), a condition resulting from compression of the median nerve in a structure called the carpal tunnel in the wrist. When CTS flares up, you may experience numbness, tingling, or pain in the wrist or palm side of your hand. You may lose grip strength, but your little finger won’t suffer symptoms since the median nerve does not serve it. 

However, that’s a small consolation when CTS interferes with your daily life. You may feel electric jolts of pain and symptoms that radiate up your arm as you perform gripping motions like holding a smartphone or clutching a steering wheel. Without treatment, CTS symptoms can become permanent. 

Dr. Adam Lewis and the team at Jackson Neurosurgery Clinic can help if your carpal tunnel symptoms slow you down. Treatment typically starts with conservative treatments, but carpal tunnel release surgery is a common solution if necessary. As with many health issues, early treatment improves your chances for a full recovery. Here’s what you need to know about this nerve entrapment condition. 

Reasons for CTS

Chances are that your CTS condition may not have a specific cause but instead combines contributing factors that result in your symptoms. The most common contributing causes include: 

  • Repetitive motion of the fingers and hands, such as using a computer keyboard or vibrating tools for long stretches at work or a hobby
  • Arthritic conditions affecting the wrist and hand, like osteo and rheumatoid arthritis
  • Traumatic injury to the hand and wrist
  • Inherited traits that may give you a small carpal tunnel structure
  • CTS generally develops more often in women than men
  • Obesity 
  • Conditions that damage nerves, like diabetes
  • Edema, or fluid retention, causing nerve irritation in the wrist
  • Medical conditions like lymphedema, kidney failure, menopause, and thyroid disorders 

Treatment for CTS rarely depends on the causes of the conditions since these are hard to pinpoint. Activities that aggravate your symptoms may not be contributing causes. 

Treating CTS

When there’s no obvious damage to the wrist, CTS treatment usually starts with conservative care, including rest and cold packs. Reducing the time spent on activities that worsen your symptoms usually helps, even if those activities aren’t CTS causes. 

Wearing a splint often helps to reduce symptoms and improve your condition. Nighttime splinting is common, and even though you wear the splint only while you sleep, you may still notice an improvement in daytime symptoms. This is also a good option for people who must avoid medications, such as pregnant women. 

Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), both over-the-counter and prescription strength, can relieve pain while reducing inflammation, though they may not promote healing. Corticosteroid injections relieve pain and reduce inflammation. Treating underlying conditions like arthritis may help to reduce your wrist symptoms too. 

Surgery becomes an option when conservative treatments fail. The procedure relieves pressure by bisecting the ligament that forms the roof of the carpal tunnel. The median nerve has more room, and compression symptoms start to fade. The ligament heals but does so in a way that preserves extra space for the nerve. 

The best options for treatment depend on your condition. You can schedule a consultation with Dr. Lewis by calling our Flowood, Mississippi, office or booking online. Jackson Neurosurgery Clinic is standing by to help you break the bonds of CTS symptoms. Make an appointment today.