Carpal Tunnel Syndrome: Treatment Options for Dealing With the Pain

Carpal tunnel syndrome is one of the most common hand problems in the U.S., affecting between 4 million and 10 million people, according to the American College of Rheumatology. Carpal tunnel syndrome (or CTS) can affect just about anyone, but it’s more common among middle-aged people and women — in fact, women are about three times as likely to develop carpal tunnel syndrome as men.

Of course, just knowing there are plenty of other people experiencing the same symptoms as you doesn’t really make those symptoms any less painful. The good news is, CTS is very treatable — and in most cases, you can find relief with nonsurgical treatments customized for your symptoms and your lifestyle.

What causes carpal tunnel syndrome?

The carpal tunnel is a narrow passage that’s formed by your wrist bones and a strong ligament, called the transverse ligament, that makes up the “roof” of the tunnel. Normally, this tunnel acts to protect the large median nerve (the main nerve in your wrist) as it travels from your forearm into your hand. But sometimes, inflammation or other problems can cause the tunnel to become narrower than normal, and the median nerve can become “pinched” or compressed, resulting in symptoms like pain, tingling, or weakness in your fingers or palm.

Lots of factors can cause or contribute to CTS and its symptoms, including:

Sometimes, multiple factors can cause symptoms; other times, the cause of CTS can’t be determined.

CTS treatment options

At The Woodlands Sports Medicine Centre, carpal tunnel syndrome treatment begins with a thorough evaluation of your hand and wrist, as well as a review of your health history and your lifestyle to help determine what’s causing your symptoms. In addition to a physical exam of your hand and wrist, our team may order X-rays or other imaging tests or nerve conduction studies to gain a complete picture of your condition.

Nonsurgical options

Most patients who have CTS benefit from conservative options aimed at decreasing swelling and inflammation in and around the wrist. These options could include:

If these more conservative options don’t provide meaningful relief for your pain, numbness, or other CTS symptoms, you might need surgery to relieve pressure on the median nerve.

Carpal tunnel surgery

CTS surgery (also called carpal tunnel release) focuses on dividing the ligament “roof” over the carpal tunnel to provide more room for the nerve as it travels from the forearm into the hand. There are two methods used in carpal tunnel surgery:

No matter which approach is used for your surgery, recovery is similar. You’ll need to wear a brace during the early stages of healing, and you’ll also need to have physical therapy to restore flexibility and strength in your hand. Most people can expect to have grip strength restored within two to three months, but in severe cases, complete recovery can take longer.

Get relief for your CTS symptoms.

Carpal tunnel syndrome can take a major toll on your quality of life, but fortunately, CTS treatment can make painful symptoms a thing of the past. The Woodlands Sports Medicine Centre finds the best treatment option for your needs and treatment goals. To schedule your CTS evaluation, book an appointment online today.

You Might Also Enjoy...

How Effective Are ACL Repair Surgeries?

You’ve damaged the anterior cruciate ligament in your knee, and you’ve been told that surgical repair is your best option. The good news is that it is highly effective in restoring full function to this all-important joint.

5 Signs of a Stress Fracture

Stress fractures may be small in size, but their impact on your bone health can be significant. That’s why early detection is critical. Know these telltale signs of a stress fracture so you can be ahead of the game.

How You Can Avoid an Ankle Sprain

Ankle sprains cramp your style, keeping you hobbling around for days or weeks after injury. Keep reading for helpful tips and tricks to avoid ankle sprains, so you can keep moving forward at your full pace.

Warning Signs of Tendonitis

Ignoring tendonitis can leave you stranded on the sidelines for weeks — or, worse yet, needing surgery to repair tendon damage. Fortunately, learning to recognize the signs of a problem can help you avoid problems. Keep reading to learn more.

Tips for Recovering From a Fracture

You recently injured yourself and sustained a fracture. Recovery will require some adjustments. Read on to learn some tips about how to make your life easier while you recover from a fracture.