Carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS) is a condition that occurs when a nerve in your wrist gets pinched. It can cause numbness, pain and tingling in your hand. Eventually the symptoms become more prominent and the hand becomes weakened. If left untreated, one can lose hand function completely.
There are several effective methods of treatment for carpal tunnel syndrome. If the condition is diagnosed at the early stages and the treatment is started immediately, patients have good chances of full recovery.
What Causes Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
Carpal tunnel is a narrow passageway that contains the nerves that run through your wrist. It’s very structure makes it vulnerable. Therefore, if your work or hobby involves a lot of repetitive hand movements, the chances are high that you will develop this condition.
There also are several diseases that can cause swelling of the carpal tunnel triggering CTS. They are:
- Rheumatoid arthritis
In some cases, carpal tunnel syndrome can be caused by pregnancy. Though, in this case, it is likely to heal on its own in a few months. It may require minor treatment, but there are natural remedies that are safe for pregnant women to use.
Carpal Tunnel Syndrome Treatment
There are two approaches to CTS treatment: surgical and non-surgical. Both have their own pros and cons that will need to be considered before choosing one.
Bear in mind that you must listen to your doctor's advice on this subject, because at some stages the condition cannot be successfully treated without resorting to surgery.
Non-surgical methods of CTS treatment include:
- Wrist splints
These splints are worn in order to secure the wrist and prevent it from aggravating the condition. If immobilized, carpal tunnel is usually able to heal on its own, or with the minimal addition of natural remedies, such as herbal teas and ointments.
Splint is usually worn at night to prevent bending the wrist in your sleep. If the treatment is effective, your condition should noticeable improve in about four weeks.
Steroids are hormones that are naturally produced by the body. They are extremely effective in reducing inflammations, this is why corticosteroids (a kind of steroid drugs) are used for treating a number of conditions. They can be taken either in a form of pills or injections. The latter is considered more effective for CTS.
Yoga, ultrasound, carpal bone mobilization, and other similar techniques are widely used in treating the early stages of CTS. They are often combined with splinting for enhancing the effect of the treatment.
Physiotherapy is also used during the recovery period after surgery.
Carpal Tunnel Release Surgery
This surgery takes little time and doesn't require you to stay in the hospital overnight. Doctors usually suggest this procedure only in severe cases of CTS, when all other methods prove to be ineffective.
There are two ways to perform this surgery:
- Open surgery
This method will require a single cut on your wrist.
- Keyhole surgery
In this case, the surgeon will use a special tube with camera that will be inserted through a small cut on your wrist or palm. This will allow the specialist to see your carpal tunnel on the screen and will increase the procedure's precision level.
The scar left by keyhole surgery is smaller and the recovery period after it will be shorter.
There is no significant difference in the results of these surgery methods. You should discuss the best approach with your doctor, who will be able to consider your personal requirements.
According to statistics, surgery provides an effective cure in the vast majority of cases. However, as any intrusive procedure, it may have some complications.
- Failure to separate the carpal tunnel roof
- Nerve injury
If the surgery is performed by a reliable and highly qualified professional, the risk of complications is minimal.
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