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Carpal Tunnel Syndrome (CTS) - Symptons, Causes & Treatment Options

carpal tunnel syndrome treatment

What is Carpal Tunnel Syndrome?

Carpal Tunnel Syndrome (CTS) is a common condition that occurs due to pressure on the median nerve within the wrist. This nerve runs from the forearm into the palm and controls sensations for the palm side of the thumb and fingers (except the pinky). 

When the median nerve becomes compressed or squeezed at the wrist, it leads to symptoms such as tingling, numbness, weakness, or pain in the hand, especially the thumb and first three fingers. These symptoms can worsen over time, affecting daily activities that involve gripping or repetitive motions with the hand and wrist.

Primary Symptoms of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

These symptoms often occur together and can fluctuate in severity. They may initially appear mild and gradually worsen over time, impacting daily activities that involve hand movement or repetitive actions. If left untreated, these symptoms can progress and affect hand function.

  • Hand numbness or tingling, especially in the thumb, index, and middle fingers

  • Weakness in the hand and a tendency to drop objects

  • Pain or burning sensation that radiates from the wrist to the arm

  • Hand and finger stiffness, particularly in the morning

Causes and Risk Factors of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

These factors, either individually or combined, can increase the risk of experiencing Carpal Tunnel Syndrome by affecting the median nerve's pressure or function within the wrist.

  • Repetitive Hand Use: Activities or professions involving repetitive hand or wrist movements, such as typing, assembly line work, or using vibrating tools, can contribute to CTS.

  • Anatomy of the Wrist: Certain anatomical features, such as a smaller carpal tunnel size or alterations in the wrist's bone structure, may increase susceptibility to nerve compression.

  • Medical Conditions: Health issues like diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, thyroid disorders, or wrist injuries can elevate the risk of developing Carpal Tunnel Syndrome.

  • Hormonal Changes: Hormonal fluctuations, especially during pregnancy or menopause, can sometimes contribute to the development of CTS.

  • Obesity: Being overweight can increase pressure on the median nerve, potentially contributing to Carpal Tunnel Syndrome.

  • Age and Gender: CTS is more prevalent in individuals over 30 and is more commonly diagnosed in women than men.

  • Family History: A family history of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome might elevate the likelihood of developing the condition.

Carpal Tunnel Syndrome Diagnosis by Medical Professionals

These diagnostic procedures help healthcare professionals to evaluate symptoms, assess nerve function, and confirm the presence and severity of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome.

  • Physical Examination: Healthcare providers conduct a comprehensive examination of the hand, wrist, and arm to assess for tenderness, sensation changes, and muscle strength.

  • Review of Symptoms: Discussing the patient's symptoms, such as tingling, numbness, pain, or weakness in the hand, helps in understanding the condition.

  • Tinel's Test: This test involves lightly tapping or pressing on the median nerve within the wrist to elicit tingling or pain, indicating possible nerve compression.

  • Phalen's Maneuver: Holding the wrists flexed for a minute to reproduce symptoms in individuals with Carpal Tunnel Syndrome.

  • Nerve Conduction Studies: Conducting electrical nerve conduction tests to measure the speed and strength of electrical signals traveling along the median nerve, helping to confirm nerve compression.

  • Electromyography (EMG): This test evaluates the muscles' response to nerve stimulation and can help assess nerve health and identify potential nerve damage.

Carpal Tunnel Syndrome Treatment Approach

The treatment approach for Carpal Tunnel Syndrome involves various methods to alleviate symptoms and manage the condition. Here are the primary approaches in managing Carpal Tunnel Syndrome:

  1. Wrist Splinting: Wearing a splint or brace that keeps the wrist in a neutral position can alleviate pressure on the median nerve, especially at night, reducing symptoms.

  2. Medications: Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) like ibuprofen or corticosteroid injections may help reduce inflammation and alleviate pain associated with CTS.

  3. Physical Therapy: Specific exercises can improve wrist strength, flexibility, and reduce pressure on the median nerve. Therapists also educate on proper ergonomics to minimize strain.

  4. Corticosteroid Injections: Injection of corticosteroids directly into the carpal tunnel may reduce swelling and provide temporary relief from symptoms.

  5. Surgery (Carpal Tunnel Release): For severe or persistent cases, surgical intervention might be recommended to relieve pressure on the median nerve by cutting the ligament that forms the roof of the carpal tunnel. This surgery aims to enlarge the tunnel and alleviate nerve compression.

  6. Lifestyle Modifications: Adjusting daily activities, taking breaks, using ergonomic tools, and avoiding repetitive hand movements can help manage symptoms.

The treatment approach may vary based on the severity of symptoms, the individual's response to treatments, and the specific circumstances of the condition. Consulting a healthcare professional for a personalized Carpal Tunnel Syndrome (CTS) treatment plan is crucial for effective management.

Can Carpal Tunnel Syndrome Be Cured Without Treatment?

In some cases, mild symptoms of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome may improve without specific treatment, especially if the condition is addressed early.

However, without intervention, symptoms often persist or worsen over time, leading to potential complications and affecting hand function. Timely treatment is essential to prevent progression.

Carpal Tunnel Syndrome Recovery Period:

Recovery timelines vary based on the severity of the condition and the chosen treatment approach.

Non-surgical treatments may lead to gradual improvement within weeks to months, while recovery from surgical intervention (Carpal Tunnel Release) might take several weeks to months for full relief from symptoms.

Carpal Tunnel Syndrome Complications and Takeaway:

Left untreated, Carpal Tunnel Syndrome can result in persistent symptoms, reduced hand strength, and even permanent nerve damage. Seeking early diagnosis and appropriate treatment is crucial to alleviate symptoms, prevent complications, and maintain hand function. 

Lifestyle modifications, ergonomic practices, and prompt medical intervention can significantly improve outcomes and enhance the quality of life for individuals with Carpal Tunnel Syndrome.

Experience relief from carpal tunnel syndrome treatment by booking a consultation with Bliss Chiropractic and Physiotherapy Centre today for holistic approach, innovative techniques, and patient-centric care, ensuring a comprehensive understanding of your condition and tailored solutions for effective relief.


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