You’re typing away at your computer at work, and notice a slight soreness in your wrist. Or maybe you’re hard at work in your shop, hammering your latest project, and feel a pinch. Sometimes, this pain goes away. Other times, it persists, getting worse over time. After just a few weeks or months, simply sitting at your desk or picking up your tools may become incredibly painful.
While there can be other causes, carpal tunnel syndrome could be to blame. Carpal tunnel syndrome affects one to three out of every 1,000 Americans. It can be a painful, and even debilitating condition if left untreated.
Luckily, both non-surgical and surgical treatments can help. Every year, the hand surgery experts at Intermountain Orthopaedics help countless patients treat their carpal tunnel syndrome. Keep reading as we explore what this condition is, the symptoms and treatment options, and how to find the best carpal tunnel surgeons near me.
What is Carpal Tunnel Syndrome?
Carpal tunnel syndrome is a common condition that impacts the hand and wrist. It occurs when the median nerve, which runs from your forearm into your hand, becomes trapped. When this nerve is compressed or pinched in your carpal tunnel, the narrow passageway in your wrist, pain occurs.
The compression of your median nerve through the carpal tunnel can be caused by several factors. Often, repetitive motions are to blame. This includes things like typing on a computer, working on assembly lines, or even playing musical instruments. Desk jobs are often associated with the development of carpal tunnel. But this isn’t the only way that the syndrome can arise.
Hormonal changes, such as those that occur during pregnancy or menopause, can cause fluid retention and swelling. This can compress the median nerve. Prolonged flexing of the wrist, such as when it is bent at night, can put pressure on the nerve as well. Other medical conditions, like diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, and obesity can also increase the risk of developing carpal tunnel syndrome.
Symptoms of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
If you find that you’re having unusual or severe pain in your hand or wrist, it’s important to start your search for the best hand surgeon Utah has to offer. They can help you get to the root of your pain and make a plan for recovery, whether that means surgery or a non-surgical procedure.
Once you’ve chosen carpal tunnel doctors near me, they’ll take a look at your wrist and talk with you about your symptoms. Some common signs of carpal tunnel syndrome include:
- Numbness or Tingling: Individuals with carpal tunnel syndrome often experience numbness, tingling, or a “pins and needles” sensation in the thumb, index finger, middle finger, and half of the ring finger. These symptoms may extend up the forearm.
- Pain and Discomfort: Hand and wrist pain, which may radiate up the forearm and arm, is common in carpal tunnel syndrome. The pain can range from mild to severe and may be more pronounced during activities that involve gripping or flexing the wrist.
- Weakness and Muscle Atrophy: As the condition progresses, individuals may experience weakness in the hand, making it difficult to perform tasks that require fine motor skills. Over time, the muscles at the base of the thumb may also shrink or atrophy.
- Decreased Grip Strength: The compromised function of the median nerve can lead to a weakened grip, making it challenging to hold onto objects or perform tasks that require hand strength.
If left untreated, the symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome can worsen over time, leading to persistent pain and even muscle damage. The sooner you start your search for carpal tunnel surgeons near me, the sooner you can get treatment.
Treating Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
There are several treatment options for carpal tunnel syndrome. Wrist splints and corticosteroid injections are non-surgical options that can help with pain. However, surgery may be necessary to relieve the symptoms and help individuals get back to living pain-free.
At Intermountain Orthopaedics, our doctors are carpal tunnel surgery Utah experts. They perform both endoscopic and open surgery, based on each individual’s patient’s needs and condition.
As with any surgery, recovering from carpal tunnel surgery takes some time. While the recovery time will vary from one patient to the next based on a variety of factors, in most cases, recovery is quick. You will likely be home from the hospital and back to work right after your surgery, though it will take some time to return to using your impacted hand as normal.
After you’ve searched for carpal tunnel surgeons near me and scheduled your surgery, learning what to expect after the procedure can help set your mind at ease and ensure that you’re prepared. There are four main areas of recovery following carpal tunnel syndrome.
Bandage and Immobilization
First is bandage and immobilization. Following the surgery, the hand and wrist are typically bandaged to protect the incision site and provide support. A splint or brace may also be prescribed by your carpal tunnel surgery Utah surgeon to immobilize the wrist, promoting proper healing.
Another area of recovery that starts immediately after surgery is pain management. Some pain and discomfort is to be expected after any type of surgery. But your surgeon will likely prescribe pain medication for you to take immediately after surgery to help with this.
Rehabilitation and Physical Therapy
The next area of recovery is physical therapy or home exercises. Rehabilitation exercises play a crucial role in restoring hand strength, flexibility, and coordination. Your surgeon may recommend that you see a physical therapist or do exercises at home. A physical therapist may guide you through exercises that focus on finger and wrist movement, gradually increasing intensity as the healing progresses.
Return to Normal Activities
The final area of recovery is a gradual return to normal activities. As healing progresses, you will gradually regain the ability to perform regular activities. However, it is important to follow your surgeon’s instructions and avoid overexertion or repetitive hand movements until full recovery is achieved. When you are ready to return to normal activities, like getting back to the gym, you’ll want to do so slowly to avoid re-injury.
Choosing the Best Carpal Tunnel Surgeon Near Me
Carpal tunnel syndrome can make it difficult to do your job or enjoy your favorite activities. While there are some non-surgical treatment options, carpal tunnel surgery is often the best option to get back to living pain-free and regain your full range of motion. The experts at Intermountain Orthopaedics can help you find the right treatment option for you.
If you’re suffering from pain in your hand or wrist, don’t wait to get treatment. Start your search for the best carpal tunnel surgeons near me by scheduling an appointment with our St George Hand Surgery clinic today.