If you’re bothered by carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS), also known simply as carpal tunnel, you have company. An estimated 1%-5% of adults in the United States have carpal tunnel, making it one of the most commonly diagnosed hand and wrist conditions.
And while CTS symptoms can wreak havoc on your daily life, appropriate treatment can go a long way.
Board-certified orthopedic sports medicine surgeon Dr. Stephen Fisher and the team at our offices in Cumming and Buford, Georgia, provide orthopedic treatment for carpal tunnel syndrome to bring you lasting relief.
Let’s take a closer look at this common condition, including five effective treatments worth considering.
Carpal tunnel syndrome basics
When you have CTS, the nerve that moves through the carpal tunnel, an opening in your wrist formed by bones, gets compressed. That nerve, the median nerve, plays an important role in your ability to move and experience sensations in your wrist and hands.
Once CTS unfolds, you can experience a range of symptoms, such as:
- Burning or tingling in the fingers and thumb
- Difficulty gripping objects, due to weakness
- Pain or numbness in one or both hands
- Feeling as though your fingers are swollen
- "Pins and needles" sensations in your fingers
Pain, numbness, and tingling may flare up most when you’re using your hands or wrists or at night. It’s not unusual for carpal tunnel pain to interrupt sleep, which fuels daytime lethargy.
Anyone can develop carpal tunnel syndrome, but being female, pregnant, or older than 30 increases your risk. CTS can also run in families and stem from having narrow wrists or a degenerative disease, like arthritis.
Carpal tunnel treatments
A range of treatments can help alleviate your CTS symptoms, either temporarily or for good. Early treatment is ideal, given that symptoms tend to worsen over time.
Treatments we may recommend include:
- A wrist splint, typically worn while you sleep
- Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), such as ibuprofen
- Corticosteroid injections
- Physical therapy
While it’s not uncommon, surgery usually is reserved for symptoms that fail to respond to less-invasive treatments. When possible, Dr. Fisher suggests an arthroscopic procedure for surgery candidates, which brings a faster recovery than traditional, or open, surgery.
You might also benefit from physical therapy after carpal tunnel surgery for enhanced healing.
Lifestyle changes — such as using ergonomic office equipment and managing anxiety, depression, and stress — may also help keep your symptoms at bay.
To learn more about carpal tunnel syndrome or get started with the care you need, call the location nearest you or book an appointment through our website today.