Of all the pain we’ve discussed in our pain series, carpal tunnel syndrome is one of the most concentrated and isolated pains we can treat. Carpal tunnel syndrome manifests itself in a few different ways and we have a few recommendations for the best ways to relieve pain.
What is carpal tunnel syndrome?
Carpal tunnel syndrome is caused by the compression of a nerve, which runs along the forearm into the hand, usually at the wrist. There is a tunnel of ligaments, which houses the median nerve, along with tendons, which are responsible for bending your fingers. When there is pressure or swelling in this area, numbness and weakness can occur in your hand or, reversely, into your arm. The first indication this is developing is often at night, with patients being woken up. Typically, tingling can be felt and symptoms will worsen until the hands and/or fingers feel swollen. While swelling is not visible, this will hinder movements and use. Symptoms will occur at work, but also at home while grasping items, driving, or even simply while sitting. There are a number of ways to diagnose carpal tunnel syndrome, most doctors relying on physical examinations and diagnostic testing in the office.
How can I avoid it?
There are a few factors that are unavoidable, including having diabetes or being a woman. According to the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, women are three times as likely to develop carpal tunnel syndrome. Many in certain jobs or industries report carpal tunnel syndrome. Commonly associated with typing and data entry jobs, which can be the case, the repetitive movements found in assembly line work, sewing, or other similar positions can contribute to an increased likelihood as well. Thus, examining hand positioning, taking frequent breaks, understanding ergonomics, and other factors are crucial to avoiding this condition. Some workplaces will rotate employees between multiple workstations to allow for a break from different movements. Others find that fingerless gloves, when allowed, provide warmth and support for hands and fingers. By examining tools and ensuring they are being designed and used in the most neutral way possible, the likelihood of carpal tunnel syndrome occurring may decrease.
How can I treat it with Republic?
Republic Pain Specialists can work with you to find a treatment plan that avoids opioid prescriptions and works to combat the issues causing your carpal tunnel syndrome. Many patients respond well to yoga and exercise classes in order to strengthen their hands and arms to avoid this compression issue any further. Additionally, working on hand opening and closing can help alleviate symptoms. There are some injections that can help with pain relief, but unless the actions causing the pain are minimized, the pain will ultimately return. This is why speaking with an employer or recognizing your own need to adjust your work positioning will be vital to comfort in the future.
Republic Pain Specialists can provide a consultation with you today to determine where your pain is occurring, why it is happening, and to discuss what treatment options we believe would be best. We want to partner with you to understand and treat your pain, working to get you back to full functioning. Contact us or come see us at one of our locations today.