Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
If you are continuously feeling weakness, numbness, and/or tingling in your hand, then you must consider visiting a doctor today to check for the presence of carpal tunnel syndrome.
If you are wondering what a carpal tunnel is, understand that it’s a narrow passageway that is found in our wrist, which opens into our hand. The carpal tunnel is surrounded by the wrist bones and the transverse carpal ligaments. The median nerve that runs through the tunnel is responsible for giving feeling to the following parts:
- Middle finger
- Half of our ring finger
In addition to these, several tendons also are passing through this tunnel. So, if there is any swelling, the large median nerve can be compressed easily, thereby leading to carpal tunnel syndrome. 
As such, carpal tunnel syndrome is a common medical condition, which tends to get worse over time in most patients. This is why it’s important to learn about the syndrome so that an early diagnosis and treatment can be made possible.
If detected early, it can often be relieved by taking simple steps, such as using a wrist splint and avoiding some activities.
In the following article, let’s learn everything about carpal tunnel syndrome and its treatment here. Keep reading:
What Causes Carpal Tunnel Syndrome?
As mentioned above, the carpal tunnel syndrome is caused by the pressure on the median nerve that controls the movement and feeling of the fingers and the thumb. Most often, people who experience this syndrome do not know what had caused it.
However, it could have been due to:
- Repetitive movements, such as typing or any movement of the wrist that you do repeatedly. It can be especially true with actions during which the hands are lower than the wrist.
- Rheumatoid arthritis
- Wrist fracture
- Older age
- Joint dislocations
In a majority of cases, the carpal tunnel syndrome is found to be caused by a combination of elements rather than just one. And, several research studies show that women, as well as older people, are more susceptible to contract this condition. 
What are the Symptoms of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome?
Symptoms of this condition may include the following:
- Burning sensation
These will be felt mostly in the thumb, middle, index, and ring fingers. In addition, there can be occasional shock-like feelings that will radiate to your thumb and other fingers.
Over time, pain and tingling effects may travel up your foreman in the direction of your shoulders. Generally, patients with carpal tunnel syndrome will feel weakness and/or clumsiness in their hands that make it hard for them to carry out the fine movements like buttoning the clothes.
Some people may even drop things due to the numbness, weakness, and/or loss of proprioception in their hands.
In a vast majority of cases, the symptoms of this syndrome will start gradually and several people can see that their symptoms come and go initially. But, as the condition worsens, these symptoms will occur more often and can even persist for a longer duration.
For most patients, the symptoms will be worse during nights. This is because many people have the habit of sleeping with their wrists bent. In rare conditions, the symptoms can even awake you from sleep. On the other hand, during the daytime, symptoms will occur if you hold something for a longer duration with your wrist bent. Examples include using a mobile phone, driving, reading a book, and so on. 
How Carpal Tunnel Syndrome is Diagnosed?
During the examination, your physician will ask you about the general health, as well as medical history. He/she will also ask you about the symptoms you have. Then, he/she will thoroughly examine the hand and wrist while performing a bunch of physical tests.
To get a better clarity, he/she may order electrophysiological tests to help measure how well the median nerve is functioning. These tests will also help your physician to determine if there is too much pressure on the median nerve. These tests may include:
- Nerve conduction studies
In addition to these, your doctor may also ask for other tests like an ultrasound, X-ray, blood test, and MRI scan, to confirm the diagnosis.
Manage Your Carpal Tunnel Syndrome on Your Own
Yes, there are a few self-management tips to help reduce the discomfort that is caused by your carpal tunnel syndrome. They are:
Patients with mild symptoms may see their condition improving without further treatment, especially if you are 30 years or below.
What can you Expect from Carpal Tunnel Syndrome Treatment?
In general, treatment of carpal tunnel syndrome will be aimed at relieving symptoms and slowing down the progression of the condition by decreasing the pressure on your median nerve. If diagnosed early, your symptoms can be relieved without surgery.
Non-surgical treatment of carpal tunnel syndrome may include:
- Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, such as ibuprofen and naproxen
- Activity changes
- Nerve gliding exercises
- Steroid injections
- Diuretic medications
- Chiropractic care
If these non-surgical treatments don’t relieve your symptoms after a few weeks, your physician may prescribe surgery. The decision whether to go for a surgery or not will be based on the severity of the condition.
There are two types of surgeries for carpal tunnel syndrome:
- Open carpal tunnel release (open surgery)
- Endoscopic carpal tunnel release (endoscopic surgery)
The outcomes of both these procedures will be similar.