Having any of these symptoms is often a sign of early warning of carpal tunnel syndrome. Rheumatologist Scott Berg says, especially if the symptoms appear on the thumb, index and middle fingers.
“Of course, not all hand pain is carpal tunnel syndrome,” says Dr. Berg. "This is a very specific nerve problem with obvious signs. When the carpal tunnel, one of the wrist passages, becomes overcrowded due to inflammation or compression, it stresses the median nerve."
In addition to these nighttime sensations, you may also experience tingling and numbness in your fingertips during the day. Over time, the muscles in your hands become weaker and harder to grip.
If this sounds like you, talk to your doctor. It is beneficial to rule out other hand and wrist problems for proper treatment.
Step 1: Get the correct diagnosis
Contacting your doctor is the best first step you can take to seek relief. Some possible tests that can be performed during a doctor's visit:
Tinel's sign: The doctor taps the underside of the wrist to test how the nerves react. Many patients experience what they call inductance.
Visual and physical examination: In the worst case, doctors may see muscle loss at the base of the thumb.
Fallon Sign: Place your hand in a prayer-like position and drop it naturally. This place often causes symptoms.
EMG and Nerve Conduction Test: Doctors may recommend this test, which is a more sophisticated method for assessing nerve function.
Your doctor will also ask about your general health, as diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, hyperthyroidism, and other conditions are often closely associated with the carpal tunnel. Pregnancy and genetics also play a role.
"Overall, treatment will target the symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome," said Dr. Berg. "But it's important to know how it fits the big picture. For example, if you have rheumatoid arthritis, treating it can also reduce carpal tunnel symptoms."
Step 2: Try wearing a sprint
Have you ever noticed that pain begins when you try to sleep? This is because the symptoms usually start at night.
“It's difficult to control your wrist while you sleep,” says Dr. Berg. “Therefore, many patients experience nighttime symptoms. Wearing a wrist splint makes a big difference because it keeps the wrist straight and does not put pressure on the nerves.”
If you can wear a sprint at work, it may also help to wear it during the day. Carpal tunnel syndrome can occur in any job, but repetitive tasks such as typing on a computer keyboard or working on an assembly line can be burdensome, especially if the forms do not fit. there is.
This is where an occupational therapist (OT) can help. Not only can OT improve your workstation to avoid stress and strain, but it can also help you change the way your hands and wrists move.
"You can try anti-inflammatory drugs to relieve pain, but you can hardly relieve it," he says. "The same is true for ice. Other types of ice in hand and wrist conditions can relieve symptoms, but carpal tunnel problems are often serious and ice is not very useful."
The National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke recommends discussing alternative treatments such as prescription drugs and chiropractic with your doctor.
Step 3: Look for medicines in more severe cases
If wearing a sprint and changing movements does not help, your doctor may recommend a cortisone injection.
"For many, injections provide months or years of relief," said Dr. Berg. "But over time, these lenses weaken the tissue and are not used for long periods of time. Generally, we do not recommend it more than twice a year."
In more severe cases, surgery may be the best option. Fortunately, carpal tunnel surgery is common, has a high success rate, and is usually performed under local anesthesia. Most people can return to normal activity within 6 weeks.
If surgery is required, your doctor may advise you to wear a sprint for some time afterwards. Later use of OT will help you change your work habits, recover and reduce future stress.