People use computers and cell phones to do everything these days.
Even though the use of technology is beneficial in a lot of ways, it’s also caused an increase in carpal tunnel syndrome, which is a numbness and tingling in the hand and arm caused by a pinched nerve in the wrist.
How Do I Know if I Have Carpal Tunnel?
Carpal tunnel usually progresses gradually, starting with numbness and tingling in in your thumb, index and middle fingers that come and goes. As it progresses, common symptoms include:
- Tingling or Numbness. Tingling and numbness are most common while holding a steering wheel, phone or newspaper, commonly waking you from sleeping. As carpal tunnel progresses, you might also notice numbness lasting for extended periods of time.
- Weakness. Numbness might also lead to weakness in the wrist, which can cause you to drop objects.
- Sharp pain at times
Causes of Carpal Tunnel
Carpal tunnel syndrome is often the result of a combination of factors that increase pressure on the median nerve and tendons in the carpal tunnel. The most common risk factors include:
- Congenital predisposition. Some people have a smaller carpal tunnel than others, making them more susceptible to getting carpal tunnel.
- Trauma to the wrist that causes it to swell. Swelling narrows the carpal tunnel and irritates the nerve.
- Rheumatoid Arthritis. Arthritis causes antibodies to inappropriately attack the lining of the joints, which creates pain and swelling of the carpal tunnel.
- Pregnancy. Fluid retention from pregnancy can cause your wrist to swell. If this is the cause of carpal tunnel, it will most likely improve when your swelling goes away.
- Computer usage. The repetitive motion of typing can cause carpal tunnel depending on the way you hold your wrist when typing. Consult your physician for information on how to avoid carpal tunnel if you type often.
Treating Carpal Tunnel
There are both non-surgical and surgical treatments if you’re suffering from carpal tunnel syndrome.
Non-surgical treatment options include pain medications, medications that reduce swelling, stretching and strengthening exercises, splinting, and steroid injections to reduce swelling.
Surgical treatment options. Physicians try to avoid surgery at all costs, but when surgery is done, the main goal is to increase the size of the tunnel. There are two types of carpal tunnel release surgeries:
- open release surgery
- endoscopic surgery
The orthopedic surgeons at Greater Rochester Orthopaedics, PC will help you decide which treatment option is right for you based on the severity of your case.
Call Greater Rochester Orthopaedics, PC at (585)295-5476 to schedule an appointment and get relief from carpal tunnel.