The treatment for carpal tunnel involves measures taken after preliminary tests, via physiotherapy, anti-inflammatory drugs or surgery, to reduce the pressure, pain, and swelling in and around the carpal tunnel.
Carpal Tunnel Syndrome (CTS ) is now addressed by the medical fraternity in a number of ways. Treatment options include special exercises, surgery, and the use of splints, recommended by specialists with extensive experience in the caring of patients diagnosed with the condition. CTS can be well addressed by teams of clinical specialists like orthopedic surgeons and neurosurgeons. Treatment is according to the stage of the syndrome.
There are a number of nerve tests that are designed around the confirmation of the diagnosis, and to rule out other causes. The course of action adopted by most practitioners begins with the physical examination and the location of the source of the symptoms. One indication is numbness in the fingers, usually excluding the little finger. This is due to the fact that the median nerve that is affected is not providing sensation to this finger. The initial treatment involves a physical test to check the feeling in the fingers and the strength of the hand muscles.
The physician applies pressure on the median nerve at the wrist by bending, tapping or simply pressing on the nerve. The reaction is what determines and confirms the condition. In the case of CTS, the physician would also recommend a nerve test to study nerve conduction. This is done to find out whether the electrical impulses traveling along the median nerve are in any way slowed down within the carpal tunnel. An electromyogram is also recommended to check for loss of ‘nerve supply’. Treatment begins as soon as the condition is defined and the condition of ‘mimic carpal tunnel syndrome’ is eradicated.
Exercise and surgery options are given by the doctor after all the tests are conducted, and a comprehensive report of the same is available for scrutiny. There are rheumatologists and hand surgeons also involved in the treatment. The treatment options are recommended primarily to reduce the resultant swelling and pressure on the median nerve. In most cases, physiotherapy treatment immediately relieves the pain and numbness. The exercises include wrist and hand movements that are designed to restore their normal functioning without pain or swelling.
Treatment could include the use of splints or braces and anti-inflammatory drugs. In extreme cases, cortisone injections or surgery is advised. In the beginning, the pain or numbness is effectively treated with simple exercises like shaking the hand. This reduces the pressure on the median nerve. However, if the symptoms get any worse, then the use of drugs and surgery is advised according to the stage diagnosed. It is important to first define the symptoms of CTS, and not mix them up with that of the numbness or tingling that is common to sleep positions that often hyperextend or hyper flex the wrists. This also results in the pinching of the median nerve.
Special exercises include therapy heat treatments and massages to alleviate the discomfort and effectively avoid the strain on the wrist. The use of a splint in the treatment keeps the wrist in a neutral position. The drugs used include non-steroidal, anti-inflammatory drugs to relieve the pain caused by swelling of the carpal tendons. Injecting cortisone also provides relief. The surgery involves cutting the roof ligament of the carpal tunnel, either by endoscopic or open procedure. Endoscopic surgery implies the use of a tiny camera to observe the carpal tunnel and perform the surgery through small incisions.
Disclaimer: This HealthHearty article is for informative purposes only, and should not be replaced for the advice of a medical professional.