If you have pain and tingling in your hand after a day of working on your laptop or computer, then you might know what carpal tunnel syndrome is. In fact, any repetitive movement you perform with your hands can irritate the tissue in your carpal tunnel in your wrist. It causes swelling and pressure on the median nerve. If you are having any strange symptoms in your hands, keep reading to find out why you shouldn’t delay treatment for carpal tunnel syndrome.
Start With A Diagnosis
There are many other manual tasks that can lead to carpal tunnel syndrome, or CTS. Working with hand tools, a florist making hand tied bows all day, or playing a musical instrument can all lead to this condition.
The symptoms may start out slowly or intermittently, but they will become progressively worse. It is important to get a medical diagnosis from OrthoNY, begin treatments, or make some changes. You may be given a series of tests to determine if CTS is the source of your pain and tingling.
What Causes Carpal Tunnel
You have a median nerve that runs through your carpal tunnel at your wrist. If it becomes compressed through repetitive movement, it irritates the tissue in the carpal tunnel causing swelling and pressure on the nerve.
The result is tingling, pain, and numbness in your fingers, especially the thumb, middle fingers, and index finger. Many times it does not affect the pinky finger, but it can move up your forearm. It can be painful and wake you from sleep.
It will not go away on its own, so don’t delay treatment for carpal tunnel syndrome.
Some Conservative Treatments
You don’t need to be concerned about surgery at the outset. That is recommended only if other more conservative treatments do not help. These treatments help with mild or early disease.
- Take breaks when your hand begins to hurt, stretch your hands and move your wrist to encourage blood flow.
- Avoid activities that make it worse.
- Use cold packs to reduce swelling.
- Bracing and immobilizing your wrist with a splint, especially at night, can help reduce symptoms. Keeping your wrist in a straight or neutral position will allow time to reduce swelling and take pressure off the median nerve.
- Take anti-inflammatory medications like Advil and Motrin for short term relief.
- Physical therapy exercises prescribed by OrthoNY is another treatment to help symptoms.
- Corticosteroid injections will help decrease inflammation and swelling to relieve pressure on the median nerve.
- Try changing the way you use your hands or modify your workstation ergonomics..
- Keep your hands warm as much as possible to help stiffness and pain. Try fingerless gloves.
If these treatments do not resolve symptoms, consider that surgery may be your best option. Without treatment CTS can cause irreversible damage to muscles and nerves in your thumb.