Carpal tunnel is one of the most common causes of chronic pain in the U.S. Caused by inflammation and pressure on the median nerve in the wrist, it can cause pain and numbness which can be debilitating in the hand. With so few treatments available, many patients believe that they must have surgery to relieve the pain. However, PPOA can often help patients find relief through other treatments before surgery becomes the only option.
What is carpal tunnel syndrome?
Carpal tunnel is caused when the median nerve, which runs through the carpal tunnel in your wrist, is compressed due to inflammation or pressure. Most often this causes pain, numbness, tingling, and limiting of movement in the hand and wrist. For some, the symptoms are minor can be dealt with using a wrist brace or OTC pain medications on certain days. But for others, the pain is constant and limits motor function permanently.
Who is at risk for carpal tunnel?
Carpal tunnel is unfortunately very common and can be caused by a variety of factors. You may be more at risk if:
- You’ve experienced trauma to the hand or wrist such as a sprain or fracture
- You have pituitary or thyroid gland issues
- You’ve been diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis.
- You use vibrating hand tools or do repetitive hand motions at work
- You experienced fluid retention during pregnancy or menopause
- You develop a cyst or tumor in the wrist or hand
- You’ve been diagnosed with diabetes or another metabolic disorder
When is surgery the best option?
Most physicians use surgery as a last resort if other treatment options fail and the pain returns or worsens over time. Common treatments include splints, corticosteroid injections, and other pain medications to help reduce swelling and pain in the area. Surgery involves cutting the flexor retinaculum in the wrist to reduce pressure, which can relieve the pain but will permanently alter the wrist’s function.
What other options are there for treatment?
PPOA works with patients individually to find treatment options that work for them. We combine physical therapy; medications and injections; medical devices and splints, and surgical options to find the best course of action depending on the patient’s pain level and motor function.