Carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS) can plague 10% of the population and is something that causes daily pain and discomfort for its sufferers. However, it is not something which you have to live with forever and can be treated to help alleviate the pain that this syndrome evokes.
What is Carpal Tunnel Syndrome?
This painful syndrome is located in the hands and fingers, caused by a compression of a major nerve where it passes over the carpal bones through a passage at the front of the wrist. It can be caused by a large amount of fluid retention or continual repetitive motions. Symptoms of this, other than continual pain, can also include pins and needles(paraesthesia) in the area, a weakness in the thumb and also dull aches in the arms. The symptoms are often most common in the thumb, index, middle and half of the ring finger.
It isn\’t known why the nerve becomes compressed in most cases, but there are certain things that seem to increase the risk of developing CTS, such as a family history of CTS, pregnancy (up to 50% of pregnant women suffer CTS), wrist injuries, diabetes and strenuous or repetitive work involving the hand.
In some cases carpal tunnel syndrome can improve after a few months without intervention. Moving or shaking of the hand can often help to alleviate the major symptoms, while activities that aggravate or make the injury worse should be avoided altogether. There is some evidence that modification to keyboard and mouse may improve symptoms. If you feel a change is needed as you use both regularly then this should be addressed with your employer.
More invasive treatment can depend on the severity and length of your CTS. Nonsurgical treatments can include wrist splints. Corticosteroid injections are also an initial recommendation to help with the pain. Those who suffer with CTS during pregnancy are advised that it should pass once the baby is born and further treatments are not usually required.
For CTS sufferers with chronic and high pain levels CTS release surgery is advised. It is performed as a day case procedure so you will not have to be admitted into hospital overnight. The surgery consists of cutting the tissue lying above the nerve (flexor retinaculum), to release the built up pressure. A local anaesthetic is used to numb your hand and wrist but you otherwise remain awake for this procedure. The traditional surgery only involves a single cut of the wrist.
The other option is keyhole surgery, where a long tube and other specialist instruments are inserted through cuts in your wrist or palms with a light and camera at the end. Using these tools the doctor is able to see tissue that they are cutting. Each procedure works to alleviate the symptoms, but there seems to be no advantage of one surgery over the other. Miss Tross offers the traditional operation only.
You should always discuss the best surgery for you with your doctor before any procedure is undertaken.
If you have any questions about carpal tunnel syndrome and the treatment surgery, don’t hesitate to contact us on 07943 947 639 today.