Treating (and Preventing) Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

Treating (and Preventing) Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

You rely on your wrists and fingers a lot, so when painful and uncomfortable carpal tunnel syndrome develops, you want relief. Here, we review your treatment options and best practices for preventing the condition.

While carpal tunnel syndrome may not qualify as serious, the pain, numbness, and tingling in your wrist and hand can be more than just a minor nuisance. Not to mention, these symptoms can get worse if not treated properly. 

To help you better understand carpal tunnel syndrome, the Spine & Orthopedic Center team, led by Dr. Rajiv Sood, decided to focus on this condition in this month’s blog post.

Here’s a look at how carpal tunnel develops, your treatment options, and what you can do to prevent the condition from returning.

Carpal tunnel syndrome at a glance

On the underside of each of your wrists, you have a small tunnel — about an inch wide — that provides passage for nine flexor tendons and your median nerve. The flexor tendons control finger movements, and the median nerve provides feeling for all but your pinkie finger (this nerve also controls the muscles at the base of your thumb).

When something crowds the tunnel, such as inflammation, your median nerve can become entrapped or compressed, leading to pain in your wrist and numbness and tingling in your hand and fingers.

Carpal tunnel syndrome affects 50 people out of every 1,000 in developed countries, and this type of nerve entrapment accounts for 90% of all neuropathy issues.

Causes of carpal tunnel syndrome

As we mentioned, the direct cause of carpal tunnel syndrome is the entrapment of your median nerve, but what causes this entrapment?

Some factors can place you more at risk for this type of neuropathy, such as:

  • Being pregnant (there’s more fluid buildup in your body)
  • Having diabetes, which affects nerve health
  • Rheumatoid arthritis, which causes inflammation
  • Repetitive use of your wrist

Heredity can also play a role, as you may have a smaller-than-normal carpal tunnel. Interestingly, race also influences carpal tunnel syndrome, as White people are 2-3 times more likely than people of color to develop the condition.

Treating carpal tunnel syndrome

When it comes to treating carpal tunnel syndrome, the frontline treatments include:

If your carpal tunnel doesn’t respond to these conservative treatments, we can go in surgically to release the nerve entrapment, which delivers immediate and long-term results.

Preventing carpal tunnel syndrome

Exercises that help the flexor tendons and median nerve glide together better are one of the keys to resolving carpal tunnel syndrome and preventing it down the road. Click on this link for some great carpal tunnel exercises to get started.

You may also want to continue to wear a brace when you know you’ll be stressing your wrists. Going further, you may want to consider sleeping with the brace to ensure that your wrists aren’t bent while you sleep.

If you have more questions about carpal tunnel syndrome and how you can find relief, please contact our office in Jonesboro, Georgia, to schedule a consultation.