What is Carpal Tunnel Syndrome?
Carpal Tunnel Syndrome is a condition that causes pain, numbness, tingling and/or weakness in the hand and wrist. It results from compression of the median nerve at the Carpal Tunnel.
The Carpal Tunnel is a narrow passageway located on the palm side of the wrist. It contains nine tendons and the median nerve.
Symptoms are often most noticeable at night when a person is resting and the area is compressed for prolonged periods of time.
The main symptoms are:
- Numbness and tingling
- Pain in the hand and wrist
- Weakness in the hand and fingers
- Burning sensation on top of the hand
Diagnoses results when people experience change in sensation or pain along with weakness in muscles in the hand or fingers. It is diagnosed with a thorough medical history and physical examination by a physician who specializes in this type of disorder. Carpal Tunnel Syndrome may be confirmed through testing, including nerve conduction studies. Tests may include the measurement of wrist-based nerve function through electromyography (EMG) and even X-rays that can reveal Carpal bone spurs.
Treatments can range from splinting and lifestyle changes to neurosurgery. If symptoms are detected early, patients may be able to slow the progression of the disease or prevent it from getting worse.
Non-surgical treatment may effectively treat carpal tunnel syndrome.
Treatment may include:
- Splinting or bracing
- Activity changes
- Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs)
- Nerve gliding exercises
- Steroid injections
Surgical treatments may be necessary to treat extreme cases. The procedure for carpal tunnel syndrome is called Carpal Tunnel release. During surgery, the surgeon cuts the transverse carpal ligament at the top of the carpal tunnel, then opens the tunnel to relieve pressure on the median nerve.