Carpal tunnel syndrome is the irritation of the median nerve in the wrist, resulting to tingling, numbness, pain and weakness in the affected hand. This syndrome usually affects the index, thumb and middle fingers and the symptoms can worsen at night time. Take note that the median nerve traverses down to the forearm and accesses the hand right after passing via the wrist tunnel that is situated in the middle region of the wrist. Always bear in mind that any condition that leads to increased direct pressure on the median nerve in the wrist can develop into carpal tunnel syndrome.
Signs and symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome
- Pain, numbness and tingling in the thumb, middle and index fingers
- Tingling, pain or numbness when moving up the arm to the elbow
- Dropping objects held
- Weakness in the hand
- Difficulty handling and feeling small objects
These symptoms typically worsen at night time and oftentimes relieved temporarily by shaking the hands.
When to seek medical care
Once the signs and symptoms lasted for a long time and could not be relieved with first aid measures at home, it is important to consult your doctor. In most cases, carpal tunnel syndrome is hardly ever considered as an emergency. Majority of cases can respond well to non-surgical treatment options.
The initial treatment for a mild case of carpal tunnel syndrome is wearing a wrist brace. By using the wrist brace, it has been proven to relieve the signs and symptoms from the carpal tunnel by positioning the wrist in an optimal position in order to minimize the irritation to the nerve. In case the syndrome continues to persist for a prolonged period, there is a possibility that permanent nerve damage can occur that can lead to numbness as well the weakness and the shrinking of the muscles in the hand. The appropriate treatment is mainly directed in the preservation of the functionality of the affected hand.
Treatment for carpal tunnel syndrome
By using a wrist splint that is readily available in most drug
stores, it can keep the wrist in an optimal position while at rest. Splinting is another option that is used for 4-6 weeks. In some cases, individuals only wear splints at night time only while others wear them day and night. It all depends when the symptoms are severe. In case relief could not be achieve even after 4-6 weeks, splints are not useful at all.
It is also important to rest the hand and wrist. Always remember that if both your hands and wrists get enough rest, there is a higher chance that the symptoms will be relieved. In some individuals, the application of cold compression can greatly help during flare-ups. Just make sure that you will not apply the ice pack directly on the skin. Simply wrap it in a cloth or towel before applying.