If you have Carpal Tunnel Syndrome (CTS), you’re not alone. This repetitive-motion injury affects roughly 5% of Americans, particularly people performing data entry or production line work. The good news is there are many ways to ease the unpleasant symptoms of CTS without having to undergo surgery.
What is Carpal Tunnel Syndrome?
Carpal Tunnel Syndrome is formed when the median nerve, one of the primary nerves of the forearm and hand, gets compressed. Tendons in the carpal tunnel can squeeze the median nerve if they become inflamed and irritated. This pressure causes swelling, pain, weakness, tingling and numbness in the wrist and hand, sometimes in the arm. Aside from inflammation of the tendons in the hand and wrist, common causes of CTS include:
- Wrist injuries
- Repetitive hand use
- Fluid retention
10 Tips to ease CTS without surgery:
- Avoid wrong positions or repetitive motion that can strain the wrist.
- Improve your workstation ergonomics by ensuring chairs and work tables are at the correct height.
- Wear a wrist splint for four to six weeks to temporarily immobilize the hand at bedtime and throughout the day.
- Night-time discomfort can be relieved by gracefully shaking your hand and wrist or hanging your hand over the side of the bed to increase blood flow.
- Deficiencies in vitamins D, C, B12, B6 and folate can contribute to the development of CTS or increase the severity of symptoms. Taking these vitamin supplements for two to three months can help improve symptoms.
- Taking nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medications like ibuprofen can relieve pain.
- Percutaneous electrical nerve stimulation
- Tunnel injections, comprising a corticosteroid and local anesthetic, can reduce swelling and inflammation, relieve the median nerve’s pressure and ease pain.
- Physical or massage therapy, including wrist exercises and yoga stretches that extend the limbs, can reduce swelling, pain, stiffness and restore grip strength.
- Nerve gliding stretches, typically used post-surgery or as part of a rehabilitation program, can help prevent CTS, improve mobility and restore mobilization.
When Should You Consider Surgery?
The treatments mentioned above typically help people with mild to moderate symptoms who have been experiencing them for under a year. However, if these methods don’t reduce your discomfort in two to three weeks and you have any of the following symptoms, you should see an orthopedic surgeon.
- Waking from sleep several times weekly with tingling or pain in your arms or hands
- Decreased hand coordination
- Reduced grip strength
- Inability to use a computer or phone, drive a vehicle or complete other daily activities without pain
If you have CTS and non-surgical treatments are ineffective, our orthopedic specialists can complete a thorough examination and help you decide if surgical treatments are right for you. Contact us at Allied Pain & Spine Institute to schedule your consultation today to learn more about treating your CTS with or without surgery.
Posted on behalf of Allied Pain & Spine Institute