When the median nerve that connects the muscles in the forearm to the fingers becomes swollen it can pinch the nerve, the surrounding tendons, and in some cases each of these. This is a condition that results in carpal tunnel syndrome. The median nerve is responsible for the sensation that is felt in the middle fingers, the thumb’s palm side, the index finger, and the inner portion of the ring finger. It also provides power to the muscle of the thumb. Numbness, pain, and tingling of the palm, the fingers, and the forearm will often occur if this nerve is pinched.
Carpal tunnel syndrome can be the result of quite a few different causes. However, a large number of people that end up suffering from this condition do not know the exact cause. In a lot of cases, problems with carpal tunnel are due to continued repetitious movements made with the hands, wrists, or the arms. This is because these movements cause aggravation to the carpal tunnel’s structure.
Treatment and recovery for carpal tunnel is easier and more effective when it is diagnosed as soon as the symptoms are noticed. When treatment is not sought as soon as possible, the symptoms of this condition can become chronic. When treatment is sought at this point, recovery time is not nearly as fast and is not always complete.
Common Symptoms Experienced with Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
A common symptom that a lot of people notice with carpal tunnel is the feeling that their fingers are going numb during the night. A tingling and numbness is often felt in the hands when they first wake up from the night. They also notice that during the day the fingers will feel as if they have fallen asleep. As symptoms of carpal tunnel worsen a numbness and burning pain may be felt all the way into the forearm, or even the shoulder.
A Look at Carpal Tunnel Treatment Options
There are quite a few treatment options that are available to patients that suffer the symptoms of carpal tunnel. As every person handles different treatment remedies differently, techniques that may work great for one person may not work the same for another. Below is a list of common options that are used for the treatment of carpal tunnel:
- Immobilizing the wrist – There are several different styles of splints for the wrist that help to reduce the amount of pressure put on the nerves. These splints can be very effective for relieving tingling, numbness, and burning, and they can be worn during the day and at night.
- Changes in lifestyle – In a lot of situations just making minor adjustments to the way certain tasks are performed can help tremendously. Adding longer resting periods in between the frequency with which specific motions are performed is also important.
- Prescription Drugs – In cases where flare-ups occur due to mild or moderate carpal tunnel steroid injections or anti-inflammatory medications can work to decrease swelling.
- Surgery – In cases where other options are not helpful, surgery may be suggested. This is an effective procedure that relieves the pressure by cutting the ligament after the carpal tunnel has been opened.