What is carpal tunnel syndrome? Carpal tunnel syndrome is reported to be the most common nerve disorder, affecting an estimated 4-10 million Americans. Carpal tunnel syndrome symptoms include hand pain, numbness and weakness, and these symptoms are treatable in the majority of patients. The pain physicians at OPTIMAL Pain & Regenerative Medicine®, located in the greater Fort Worth, Arlington and Dallas, Texas area, are here to assist carpal tunnel patients with the troublesome symptoms of this condition.
What is Carpal Tunnel Syndrome?
Many patients experiencing hand pain, numbness and weakness may question, what is carpal tunnel syndrome? This common condition affects women three times more frequently than men, and patients middle-aged and older are at an elevated risk of developing carpal tunnel syndrome.
Located at the wrist on the palm side of the hand, the carpal tunnel is just beneath the skin’s surface and houses the median nerve and nine flexor tendons to the fingers. The name “carpal tunnel” comes from the structure of the tunnel. Eight small bones form three sides of the tunnel and the remaining side is formed by soft tissues, mainly the transverse carpal ligament.
The median nerve and flexor tendons pass through the carpal tunnel. The flexor tendons assist the fingers in flexing and bending, while the median nerve provides muscle function and feeling of the hand. When the median nerve becomes compressed, carpal tunnel syndrome symptoms develop.
What are Carpal Tunnel Syndrome Symptoms?
The most common carpal tunnel syndrome symptoms include pain, numbness, weakness and tingling in the hand, a pins and needles sensation most commonly found in the thumb, index and long fingers and loss of hand feeling and function.
Many patients experience an elevated pain level in the morning or during a specific activity such as driving, typing or bending the wrist. Carpal tunnel syndrome symptoms typically begin gradually without an injury to the wrist present.
Carpal tunnel patients may experience this condition from a variety of causes, including:
- Hormonal changes with pregnancy
- Nerve disorders
- Injury to the wrist
- Overuse of the wrist area
How is Carpal Tunnel Syndrome Treated?
A pain physician will complete a thorough physical examination and medical review to determine if carpal tunnel syndrome is present. If carpal tunnel syndrome is suspected, a number of non-surgical measures may be recommended, including anti-inflammatory medications, pain medications, bracing/splinting, activity modifications and corticosteroid injections in the carpal tunnel. If the condition is diagnosed and treated in a timely manner, many patients will experience alleviated carpal tunnel syndrome symptoms without the use of surgery.
If you are experiencing carpal tunnel syndrome symptoms or would like to know, what is carpal tunnel syndrome?, contact the pain physicians at OPTIMAL Pain & Regenerative Medicine®, proudly serving carpal tunnel patients in the greater Dallas, Arlington and Fort Worth, Texas area.