Pain in the wrist and hand characterize carpal tunnel syndrome. Beyond pain, you may experience:
These symptoms may come and go and often worsen at night. It often feels like your hand has fallen asleep and you may find that you shake it in an attempt to restore feeling.
When carpal tunnel syndrome flares, you may struggle with manual dexterity, especially when manipulating small objects.
Carpal tunnel syndrome results when your median nerve gets compressed. This nerve, which travels from the spine through the carpal tunnel at the base of your wrist, is responsible for the feeling in half your palm, thumb, index finger, middle finger, and half of your ring finger. When compressed, pain manifests in these areas.
In many cases, nerve compression occurs in the carpal tunnel. Inflammation and overuse can cause this, while in some people the carpal tunnel is just smaller and more prone to causing issues.
Carpal tunnel syndrome is likely in people who perform repetitive hand movements, including those who work on assembly lines or type. The condition is common in those with diabetes, thyroid disease, and rheumatoid arthritis. Obesity and pregnancy also increase your risk.
To determine if you have carpal tunnel syndrome, Dr. Chawla discusses your symptoms and examines your wrist. He may recommend electromyography (EMG) testing. An EMG test uses electrical impulses to determine if the median nerve is what’s causing your hand and wrist pain.
In many cases, your carpal tunnel syndrome improves with rest. Dr. Chawla recommends avoiding activities that aggravate your symptoms and wearing a brace.
When pain is severe, he may suggest taking over-the-counter pain relievers, such as ibuprofen or acetaminophen. If your condition doesn’t improve on its own, he may recommend oral or injectable corticosteroids to reduce pain.
Physical therapy, strengthening exercises, and ergonomic changes to your work environment may also decrease the symptoms of carpal tunnel.
For chronic cases or those that don’t respond to traditional treatments, Dr. Chawla may recommend carpal tunnel surgery.
When hand and wrist pain interfere with your life, don’t let symptoms worsen; find help instead. Call to schedule your initial consultation with Dr. Chawla or book it online.
Feel free to email us regarding any scheduling or general questions!