The median nerve, which runs through the area called the carpal tunnel, going from the forearm into the hand, can become pinched or pressed due to tissue or tendon swelling.
Symptoms of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
- Burning, tingling, or itching numbness in the palm of the hand and the thumb, index and middle fingers
- Decreased grip strength
- Lack of ability to distinguish hot and cold by touch
Treatment of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
- Resting hand and wrist for 2 weeks or longer
- Avoiding physical or occupational activities that aggravate symptoms
- A wrist splint will help avoid further damage by immobilizing the hand and wrist
- Applying cool packs to reduce swelling and inflammation
- Anti-Inflammatory medication to reduce swelling
- Steroidal drugs
- Exercises and Physical/Occupational Therapy
- Carpal tunnel release surgery – recommended if symptoms last for 6 months, surgery involves severing the band of tissue around the wrist to reduce pressure on the median nerve. Surgery is done under local anesthesia and does not require an overnight hospital stay. Many patients require surgery on both hands. This procedure can be open surgery or endoscopic.
Following surgery, recovery time can vary, but most people will eventually experience complete recovery, with very rare occurrence of the syndrome.