Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

Those who suffer from carpal tunnel syndrome will attest that the condition is uncomfortable and painful. The sharpness and pain felt through the joints in the hand and wrist are often hard to deal with, especially for those who perform tasks that require constant movement of the hand and wrist. However, once the condition develops, the impact of the condition will be felt. This does raise questions regarding what are the causes of carpal tunnel. Such causes are varied and can include the following:

The main cause of carpal tunnel syndrome is excess pressure on the median nerve in the hand. Such pressure leads to pain and numbness. There are many causes of this excess pressure including inflammatory conditions and repetitive use of the hand and wrist. Repetitive use can be one of the most problematic causes because many people may be unable to limit the activities that lead to the condition.  For example, someone that works in an office may be putting pressure on the median nerve daily due to excess typing. Over time, such use can accumulate into a serious health problem like carpal tunnel syndrome. Dr. James Bruno is a neurologist in Port Jefferson that can treat your CTS. In order to provide the best treatment options, an accurate and thorough diagnosis is key.

Certain underlying health conditions have also been known to contribute to the cause of carpal tunnel syndrome:

  • Thyroid conditions
  • Pregnancy
  • Rheumatoid arthritis

Once the causes of carpal tunnel are identified, it then becomes necessary to seek the proper remedy to reverse this condition.

Treatment for Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
Studies of carpal tunnel syndrome show that when left untreated, permanent damage can occur.  Patients with mild to moderate symptoms typically experience significant worsening in the first year that may extend for many years. The earlier carpal tunnel syndrome is treated, the better the prognosis.

These findings speak to the importance of early intervention of carpal tunnel syndrome. There are numerous treatments available for carpal tunnel syndrome including:

  • Rest
  • Avoidance of exacerbating situations
  • Anti-inflammatory medications designed to reduce swelling and tenderness
  • Stretches and physical modalities
  • Surgery such as endoscopic release or open release
  • Cortisonе injections

The intervention techniques listed above are not always sufficient in treating carpal tunnel syndrome completely. Other interventions involve environmental modifications such as therapeutic chairs and computer keyboard pads. In addition, wrist splinting is another popular treatment but has shown to be a highly ineffective option as it puts undue pressure on the median nerve and allows existing muscle imbalances to worsen. Note: a positive outcome has been shown when wrist braces are used for night use only to keep the wrist straight. The reason for this is that many people make a fist or curl their wrist into extreme flexion when sleeping which vastly increases compression/impingement on the median nerve.

The most successful approach in eliminating carpal tunnel syndrome quickly and effectively is correcting muscle imbalances in the hand and forearm with simple therapeutic exercises. These exercises focus on stretching and lengthening the overused flexor muscles that flex(bend) the fingers and wrist in order to relieve compression of the median nerve, and the strengthening of the extensor muscles that extend(straighten) the fingers and wrist as the extensor muscles act as the main stabilizers for the hand when performing all gripping activities. By strengthening and stretching the appropriate muscles, it is possible to correct the muscle imbalance that causes nerve entrapment.

With conservative treatments showing a much higher rate of short-term success and with greater long-term relief, it is easy to see those non-invasive treatments are a much better choice. Remember to always talk with your physician so that you may investigate the choice that fits your lifestyle best.

At Three Village Neurology, a neurologist in Port Jefferson will examine your physical condition and perform an Electromyogram in order to evaluate the electrical activity of your muscles. The EMG will help to properly diagnose the nature of your carpal tunnel syndrome in order to provide a course of treatment. Because CTS involves the nervous system, a neurologist in Port Jefferson provides specialized care for your condition. Contact us today to set up an appointment.