Don’t Delay Carpal Tunnel Treatment

Carpal Tunnel Treatment

Carpal tunnel syndrome is a condition caused by a compressed nerve that runs from your forearm to your hand through a passage called the carpal tunnel. While many people relate carpal tunnel to using a keyboard or other repetitive motions, it is actually caused by genetics (people with small carpal tunnels and women are at higher risk) and health conditions such as arthritis, diabetes, and obesity.

Carpal tunnel syndrome typically starts with a feeling of numbness or tingling in your thumb and first three fingers (usually not the pinky finger). It also can cause a sensation like an electric jolt that can run up the arm. In severe cases, it can cause pain in the arm, wrist, and hand that can occur during certain activities or be constant. Carpal tunnel syndrome symptoms can be strong enough to wake people up at night.

Should I See a Doctor for Carpal Tunnel?

Mild cases of carpal tunnel are typically treated with home remedies, such as icing the wrist and taking over-the-counter medications like Tylenol. If home remedies are not effective and you have continuing symptoms that interfere with your normal activities or sleep, you should see your doctor or a Penn Highlands neurosurgeon, orthopedic surgeon, or plastic surgeon who specializes in carpal tunnel repair. Permanent nerve and muscle damage can occur without treatment.

How is Carpal Tunnel Treated?

Once carpal tunnel is confirmed, our neurosurgeons may recommend wrist splinting or corticosteroid injections. These injections are meant to decrease inflammation, which could reduce the pressure on the nerve.

If conservative measures don’t relieve your carpal tunnel symptoms, surgery may be recommended. Surgery cuts the ligament that is pressing on the nerve, allowing the carpal tunnel to expand which relieves the pressure and the symptoms. This surgery is done on an outpatient basis, which means you’ll be able to go home the same day.

How Long Does Recovery from Carpal Tunnel Surgery Take?

After surgery, your hand and wrist will remain bandaged and possibly splinted for about two weeks. Heavy use of your hand will be restricted during this time. When the physician removes the bandages, you’ll begin physical therapy to help heal faster and to become stronger. Recovery can take anywhere from a few days to a few months.. How long it takes to return to full work and activities depends on several factors, including whether the surgery is performed on your dominant hand, the type of work or activities you do, and how severe the damage was to begin with.

If you have symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome, don’t wait for permanent damage. Our surgeons can quickly diagnose you and put you on the road to recover.

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