Carpal tunnel syndrome is a situation in which compression of the median nerve occurs when passing through the wrist, which is a narrow space. This compression can cause many symptoms. It does not have any specific cause, although there are some risk factors: repetitive and frequent movements of the hand, such as using a computer keyboard; also in repetitive movements to grab something with the hands as in some physical activities; Arthritis or diabetes is a predisposition for the carpal tunnel, as well as hormonal or metabolic changes.
Symptoms of the carpal tunnel
- Difficulty to close the hand with force and to grasp objects with the hand.
- Pain or numbness in one or both hands and tingling sensation in the fingers.
- Swelling or tingling in the fingers, especially in the thumb, index and middle.
Treatment depends on age, general condition and concomitant diseases. The treatments may include the following: in less advanced cases a splint may be used in the hand (to help prevent movement of the wrist and decrease compression of nerves within the tunnel), anti-inflammatory medications are also helpful and postural changes of the wrist. If advanced cases of the of carpal tunnel syndrome, the treatment recommend is surgical.
Carpal tunnel surgery
Surgery for carpal tunnel syndrome is performed in a clinic or hospital under local or general anesthesia. An incision is made in the area of the wrist and the nerve is released by cutting the tissue that is pressing it. After surgery, the wrist is usually immobilized with a large bandage and wrist strap to help stabilize the area. The splint will be used continuously during the first two weeks after surgery, but then it will be used intermittently for the next month or so.
There is a moderate degree of pain in the hand after surgery, which is usually controlled by pain medications that are administered orally. The surgeon may ask you to keep the affected hand elevated while you sleep, to decrease the pain.
The duration of recovery varies according to the individual. If the nerve has been compressed for a long period of time, recovery may take longer. The patient has to have an early mobilization of the fingers to avoid stiffness.