Carpal tunnel syndrome is a condition that causes numbness, weakening, or itching and tingling in the hands and wrist. Patients describe feeling like their hand “fell asleep,” and this sensation can run up the arm and even into the shoulder. Carpal tunnel can lead to slow nerve reaction times and a loss of coordination in the hand and wrist.
If left untreated, carpal tunnel syndrome can develop further and cause more pain, stiffness, and discomfort over the years. When caught early, however, carpal tunnel can be managed with the right care.
Pressure on your median nerve leads to carpal tunnel syndrome. This nerve runs down your arm into your hand, provides sensation to the thumb and some of the fingers, and stimulates muscles that control the thumb.
Pressure on the median nerve causes swelling in the wrist, which leads to:
You’ve probably heard of carpal tunnel syndrome developing due to excessive typing. Repeated movements like prolonged typing or use of gaming controls, or repetitive movement of the arm, can cause the nerve to swell in the wrist.
Other conditions like arthritis, diabetes, obesity, and pregnancy can lead to carpal tunnel syndrome. Dr. Boylan and his team at Lake Physical Medicine can help you with preventive measures to ensure you don’t develop carpal tunnel syndrome, especially if you have one of these risk factors.
To diagnose carpal tunnel syndrome, Dr. Boylan performs an electromyography, or EMG, a test to measure nerve function in the affected area. EMG testing is effective at catching signs of carpal tunnel syndrome early and is an integral part of understanding how far nerve damage has progressed.
Surgery might be the most effective solution in some severe to make more room for the pressured nerve. After diagnosing carpal tunnel syndrome, Dr. Boylan works closely with hand surgeons to determine the right course of action for you.
He may also prescribe stretching exercises in conjunction with medication, the latter of which may include anti-inflammatory drugs or steroid injections. In some cases, immobilization of the wrist may support healing.
Carpal tunnel syndrome can be uncomfortable and limiting, so Dr. Boylan provides a course of treatment to help you get pain relief and regain mobility.
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