Carpal tunnel syndrome treatment

Carpal tunnel syndrome treatment

Carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS) is a common condition that affects the hand and wrist, causing pain, numbness, and tingling sensations. "Carpal tunnel syndrome is like a wake-up call from our hands, urging us to pay attention before things escalate," says Gregg A. Vagner, MD, ARC Orthopedics arm/elbow and hand specialist. "Proper understanding and treatment can lead to significant relief and restoration of function."

What is carpal tunnel syndrome?

Carpal tunnel syndrome is a condition that occurs when the median nerve becomes compressed within the carpal tunnel, leading to symptoms such as:

  • Numbness or tingling in the thumb, index, middle, and ring fingers.
  • Pain or discomfort in the hand, wrist, or forearm.
  • Weakness or clumsiness in the hand, making it difficult to grip objects or perform tasks requiring fine motor skills.

Learn more about carpal tunnel syndrome.

Diagnosing carpal tunnel syndrome

Diagnosing carpal tunnel syndrome typically involves a combination of medical history, physical examination, and diagnostic tests. Your doctor may inquire about symptoms, occupation, and activities that may exacerbate or alleviate discomfort. Physical examination may include tests to assess sensation, strength, and reflexes in the affected hand. Additionally, nerve conduction studies or electromyography (EMG) may be ordered to measure the electrical activity of muscles and nerves, helping to confirm the diagnosis and assess the severity of nerve compression.

Treatment options

Treatment for carpal tunnel syndrome aims to alleviate symptoms, reduce inflammation, and prevent further nerve damage. Depending on the severity of symptoms and individual factors, treatment options may include non-surgical or surgical interventions.

Non-surgical treatment: Non-surgical approaches are often recommended as the initial course of treatment and may include:

  • Rest and activity modification: Avoiding activities that exacerbate symptoms and taking frequent breaks to rest the hands and wrists.
  • Wrist splinting: Wearing a splint or brace to immobilize the wrist in a neutral position, relieving pressure on the median nerve during sleep or activities.
  • Physical therapy: Stretching and strengthening exercises to improve flexibility, reduce muscle tension, and enhance overall wrist and hand function.
  • Pain management: Over-the-counter or prescription medications, such as nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) or corticosteroid injections, to alleviate pain and inflammation.

Surgical treatment: If conservative measures fail to provide relief or if symptoms are severe and persistent, surgical intervention such as carpal tunnel release may be considered. Carpal tunnel release is a minimally invasive procedure performed under local anesthesia, involving the division of the transverse carpal ligament to enlarge the carpal tunnel and relieve pressure on the median nerve.

Learn more about carpal tunnel release.

Carpal tunnel syndrome can significantly impact daily activities and quality of life, but with appropriate treatment, many individuals can find relief from symptoms and regain function in the hands and wrists. "If you're experiencing symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome, don't hesitate to seek evaluation and guidance from an orthopedic hand surgeon," says Dr. Vagner. "Early intervention can often lead to better outcomes and a faster return to pain-free living."

Make an appointment today

With a patient-centered approach, ARC Orthopedics prioritizes open communication, personalized treatment plans, and ongoing support to ensure the best possible outcomes for patients of all ages.

Take the first step towards a healthier you and schedule an appointment today. Dr. Vagner has a Fellowship in Hand, Upper Extremity and Microvascular from the University of Utah in Salt Lake City, Utah. He provides orthopedic services to patients of all ages at five locations: ARC Medical Park Tower Orthopedics in Austin, ARC Cedar Park Building B, ARC Kelly Lane in Pflugerville, and ARC South 1st in Austin.

Make an appointment through ARC MyChart or ARC Help Me Book or by calling one of the above clinics directly.

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