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carpal tunnel syndrome

Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

Approximately 3-6 percent of the overall population has Carpal Tunnel Syndrome (CTS), a painful condition affecting the nerves in the hand.

What is carpal tunnel syndrome?

The carpal tunnel is located across the thumb and pinky finger, covering several important nerves that run from your forearm to your hand. The main nerve in this area called the median nerve, controls the movement and sensation in your thumb through your ring finger.

When this passageway becomes compressed, it exerts pressure on your median nerve. This pressure is the culprit of the symptoms and side effects that accompany CTS. For many, living with this condition creates challenges in daily activities, resulting in unwanted side effects such as pain while using the hands, numbness or tingling, and reduced grip strength.

What are the symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome?

Depending on the severity of your CTS, symptoms may carry from mild to severe. Generally, however, patients report weakness, tingling, pain, numbness, burning, or itching in the affected hand between the thumb and fourth finger. Some have also reported occasional sensations of electric shock as a short-term symptom of carpal tunnel.

CTS can wreak havoc on the hand and wrist when left to persist, resulting in permanent damage to the nerve and muscle tissue in that region.

What causes carpal tunnel syndrome?

While repetitive motions such as typing are commonly blamed for CTS, many other biological factors contribute to the disorder, including:

  • Hypothyroidism
  • Rheumatoid arthritis
  • Pregnancy
  • Repetitive motion
  • Incorrect wrist positioning

Other factors, such as being female, also correlate with a higher risk factor for developing CTS. Similarly, you may be at higher risk for developing CTS if you have a condition that causes you to retain water— a side effect that can cause further restriction at this delicate point in the wrist.

How is carpal tunnel syndrome treated?

Parallel to the disorder's potential severity, carpal tunnel syndrome treatment ranges from wrist splints and vitamins through surgical procedures such as open carpal tunnel release.

Especially in the early stages, treatment for CTS includes lifestyle changes such as taking breaks, stretching, strengthening, and limiting activities that cause symptoms. Immobilization by bracing or splinting can be helpful, especially at night or during problematic activities. Anti-inflammatory medications and Vitamin B6 may provide temporary relief. Many patients receive corticosteroid or cortisone injections. These can ease flare-ups, but their effects may not be lasting. Doctors and occupational therapists sometimes teach nerve-gliding exercises as well.

Endoscopic carpal tunnel release and open carpal tunnel release are the two most effective options for those who need surgical intervention. Both involve cutting the transverse carpal ligament that forms the top of the carpal tunnel to increase tunnel size and decrease nerve pressure. In open carpal tunnel release, the ligament is divided by a small incision in the palm. In endoscopic carpal tunnel release, your doctor creates one or two smaller incisions, known as portals, and an endoscope is used to see while cutting the ligament. Most surgeries are outpatient, requiring either general or local anesthesia.

AZ Pain and Spine Institute
Carpal Tunnel Syndrome Treatments

Here at Arizona Pain and Spine Institute, we improve our patients’ quality of life by alleviating and managing their pain. Some of our Carpal Tunnel Syndrome treatments include:

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Why choose AZ Pain and Spine Institute to treat your Carpal Tunnel Syndrome?

We have a team of medical practitioners, pain management doctors, and staff who are experts on pain management, including Carpal Tunnel Syndrome. We use state-of-the-art technology and effective approaches in achieving our mission. We care about your well-being and are committed to making your life pain-free.