October 2022

What is carpal tunnel syndrome?

Carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS) affects your hands and wrists. You often feel pain and discomfort in your hand and wrist. Simple tasks can be difficult with CTS. Your hand function may be greatly inhibited by CTS. Luckily, CTS is treatable by a variety of different methods. Medical Travel offers treatment in the form of surgery.


What are the symptoms associated with carpal tunnel?


CTS is caused by increased pressure on the median nerve. The carpal tunnel is a small passageway surrounded by ligaments and bones on the palm of your hand. The compression of the median nerve causes pain and discomfort in the hand and wrist. The symptoms of carpal tunnel begin slowly and will worsen over time without treatment. Some of the symptoms include:


Numbness and tingling in the hand and finger. Usually, numbness is felt in all of your fingers except your little finger. The tingling can also feel like a shock.

Numbness may travel up the arm during tasks like driving or holding a phone or newspaper. 

Weakness in the hand and wrist is also a common symptom. This weakness may cause you to drop things you are holding. 

carpal tunnel

It is important to see a doctor when carpal tunnel is impacting your daily activities and sleep. The symptoms can often worsen at night and disrupt your sleep. Your nerves and muscles could be permanently damaged if you don’t seek treatment. [1]


How can carpal tunnel be treated?


Carpal tunnel can be treated surgically and non-surgically. Typically surgery is used for more severe or stubborn cases. Usually, your doctor will begin treatment with a non-surgical option and if that doesn’t work after a period of time surgery may be recommended.


Non-surgical treatment usually starts with wearing a splint at night. Ibuprofen is recommended to reduce inflammation. You may have to make changes to how you do normal tasks. You may need to change the way you type or sit at your desk. A physical therapist will also work with you on daily exercises for your hand and wrist.


Surgery is recommended when non-surgical treatment doesn’t work or your case is already very severe. The surgery will increase the size of the tunnel so there is less pressure on the nerves and tendons in that area. Surgeons do this by cutting the transverse carpal ligament and this allows for there to be more space in that area. [2]


What is recovery like after surgery?


The recovery from carpal tunnel surgery is nothing to be scared of. Most people feel relief soon after surgery. You will wear a bandage and a splint for a week or two. You will feel some pain in your hand and wrist, but most surgeons will prescribe pain medication to relieve any discomfort. You will be recommended to keep your wrist elevated at night. After you get your splint off you will begin physical therapy to move your hand and wrist. The exercises done in physical therapy will promote healing, mobility, and strength in the affected areas. Depending on your job you may have to take some time off to heal. The healing process is short compared to most surgeries and you will be back to your normal activities soon after surgery. [3]