Carpal Tunnel Syndrome Treatment
The carpal tunnel syndrome or also known as the CTS is a common syndrome for people who use their hands and wrists a great deal. You have to undergo a carpal tunnel syndrome treatment in order to limit the progression of the disorder.
Carpal tunnel syndrome is the compression of the median nerve. The median nerve is the only nerve that passes through the carpal tunnel in the wrist known as the flexor retinaculum. Because of continued use of the wrist and hand, there can also be a continuous compression on this nerve. Once the median nerve is compressed damage to this nerve can occur.
Compression of the median nerve can give you symptoms of paresthesia, pain, tingling sensation and numbness in your hand. This is basically experienced in your thumb, index finger, middle finger and radial half of your ring finger. These are the areas of your hand that is supplied by median nerve.
But what is the best treatment that you can undergo to control or even cure the disorder? There are different measures that you can take in order to prevent any permanent disability that CTS can cause you.
The management approach used in CTS depends on the severity of the symptoms and you must know that each person may have different symptoms. Your physician will determine the treatment approach to use depending on your age, your tolerance to medications or any surgical procedures (if needed) and severity of the disorder.
The management approach or carpal tunnel syndrome treatment used
In acute phase you may start to feel some intermittent to continuous pain on the palmar aspect of your hand which can prompt you to seek medical advice. A wrist splint may be prescribed by your physician. This intends to limit the wrist flexion and hand motions in such manner that would lessen the median nerve compression within the flexor retinaculum. This is worn during the night and when doing activities involving wrist motions.
A nocturnal pain on the hand is usually experienced by the patient affected by CTS. The pain is very intense during the night since many people sleep with their wrists in a flexed position; this position triggers the symptom and awakens the individual.
Pain and numbness are also experienced when an individual does a lot of typing jobs and activities that require gripping or fine movements of hands during the day. Both hyperflexion and hyperextension of the wrist can trigger the CTS symptoms.
One of the treatments used to control the pain may be the use medications via oral intake and/or injection into the carpal tunnel. The medications used include but are not limited to anti-inflammatory drugs known as NSAIDs (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs) which can be purchased over the counter from your local drug stores. NSAIDs such as naproxen, ibuprofen and even celecoxib can reduce the inflammation.
If the conservative measures used by the person with CTS have not improved the condition then steroids injection into the wrist is the carpal tunnel syndrome treatment of choice. Corticosteroids injection is often used to control the inflammation and pain unrelieved by conservative management.
The steroid injection may be very effective especially when the person is in the process of lifestyle modifications. This can also avoid the adverse effects of long term use of oral steroids for the management of the symptoms.
If you have milder symptoms then a conservative treatment approach can best work for you. These include ergonomic changes. If you are using your hand and wrist frequently at work then frequent rest is needed if you are suffering from CTS.
You must also check the computer keyboard position. If this contributes to the occurrence of CTS symptoms then the keyboard position must be adjusted to ensure correct and comfortable wrist position.
Physical therapy managements such as application of moist heat, ice packs or cryotherapy, ultrasound and transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulations or TENS can also be used. Any one of these managements can be used as a carpal tunnel syndrome treatment for you. All of these managements can help in reducing the pain experienced by the patients. These can help in reducing the pain experienced by the patient.
Exercises of the wrist and hand are especially emphasized during the physical therapy sessions. Other exercises and strengthening exercises are avoided during the acute phase but they are done usually after the pain has subsided.
Acute to sub-acute phases can occur within one week of symptoms. But in some cases where the CTS is severe and is in chronic manifestation such as atrophy of the thenar muscles that can be debilitating to the person, surgery is considered.
If a conservative treatment has failed and the patient continues to experience deterioration of hand functions, surgical release of the carpal tunnel is done. In this kind of surgical procedure an incision is done on the palmar aspect of the affected wrist area. The entrapped or compressed median nerve is surgically released by incising through the roof of the carpal tunnel allowing the nerve to freely pass through.
There are two kinds of wrist surgery done nowadays and your doctor will advise you which one is the best carpal tunnel syndrome treatment in your case. The first is the open carpal tunnel release surgery. This is done in an outpatient setting and with the use of local anaesthesia; the incision is made on the palmar aspect of the hand up to the wrist.
The incision extends from one and a half to two inches long. The incision is then sutured. The suture is removed after 7 to 10 days and scar massage may be prescribed by your physician.
The newer wrist surgical procedure is called the endoscopic or keyhole surgery for CTS which you can also pick as your treatment of choice. This procedure involves very small incision done on the wrist of the patient by the physician, the usage of fiber optic instruments and a video monitor.
In this procedure the recovery time is shorter and scar formation is relatively small. But only a few trained surgeons have the expertise and experience to perform this new technique as compared to surgeons who do the traditional open CTS surgery.
If you are experiencing CTS symptoms then using a proper treatment management can help you through your healing from this disorder. Remember to see you healthcare provider to know which treatments will work best for you.