Carpal tunnel pain is often described as an altered feeling in the thumb, index and ring finger. You may feel a tingling sensation across your hand. This sensation is often made worse when provoked, such as when gripping an object like a cell phone or holding a book. This tingling sensation can progress to pain that spreads to the hands and wrists as the condition worsens.
Carpal tunnel pain treatment options don’t have to include surgery and over-reliance on pain medication. At the pain treatment clinic, our Harvard-trained specialized doctors offer various non-surgical alternatives which are highly effective and minimally invasive. We’ll review carpal tunnel pain treatment options, discuss symptoms and highlight risk factors to help you. Here are a few of the carpal tunnel pain treatment options that you can receive at the pain treatment clinic:
The Best Options for Carpal Tunnel Pain Treatment
1. Wrist Splints
Wrist splints are a practical way to combat carpal tunnel pain. Carpal tunnel pain is caused by pressure on the median nerve, a nerve that runs from the shoulder down to the wrist. As a result, wrist splints will help to keep your wrist and hand straight and in a neutral position. Wrist splints are a great carpal tunnel pain treatment option because they help reduce your pain and can be worn at any time. They can be worn during the day when we engage in repetitive behaviours that may cause the nerve to flare up, or at night to keep pressure off our hands and wrists. It is important to make sure that our wrist splints are snug (but not too tight) so that we are providing healthy support.
2. Steroid Injections
Steroid injections (also known as corticosteroids) are used to decrease inflammation and can offer quick relief from inflamed joint, tissue and tendon pain. Your pain doctor will administer the injection to the area of pain and you will quickly feel pain relief.
3. Endoscopic Surgery
Endoscopic surgery is another efficient carpal tunnel pain treatment option. If minimally invasive options such as injections don’t work, a doctor can use a small device that looks like a telescope to see inside the carpal tunnel. A qualified doctor will perform a small procedure where the ligament is cut via small incisions that are made on the hand and wrist. Wrist pain will be alleviated without the need for open surgery and the recovery period associated with it!
It is always recommended to consult a specialized pain doctor before committing to surgery. Our nationally-recognized pain doctors can provide you will an initial consultation and assessment to tailor a treatment plan for you.
What causes carpal tunnel pain?
Now that you are familiar with some carpal tunnel pain treatment options, let’s discuss the causes of this uncomfortable condition. Carpal tunnel pain is caused when there is pressure on the median nerve where it passes through a small tunnel in the wrist. The carpal tunnel contains tendons that are important for allowing us to flex and bend our fingers. It also contains the median nerve which is responsible for allowing us to feel and control our muscles in our hand and thumb. When there is pressure put on the median nerve, it can cause the symptoms of carpal tunnel pain.
Symptoms of Carpal Tunnel Pain
As we have already discussed, carpal tunnel pain arises when the median nerve in the wrist is compressed. Symptoms of carpal tunnel pain vary depending on risk factors and the length of time experiencing the pain. Carpal tunnel pain may initially feel mild. However, the pain can get worse over time and is more common at night. Carpal tunnel symptoms include:
- altered feeling in the affected hand – this radiates to the thumb, index, middle and ring fingers
- tingling sensations (often worse at night or first thing in the morning)
- intermittent tingling sensations followed by normal hand sensations
- prolonged periods of tingling and numbness in the fingers and thumb
- weakness in the muscles
- inability to grasp objects
- pain in the forearm and wrist which can spread to the upper arm and shoulder regions
It is important to receive a consultation with a specialized pain doctor when seeking information about carpal tunnel pain treatment options. We offer a highly-specialized team of Harvard-trained doctors who combine their knowledge and experience in pain management to achieve successful outcomes.
Risk factors for Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
Having discussed the causes and associated symptoms of carpal tunnel pain, let’s consider risk factors that may increase the possibility of developing this condition:
- sex – carpal tunnel pain is more commonly found in women. This may be a result of women having smaller carpal tunnel areas compared to men.
- chronic illness – diabetes and other chronic illnesses can contribute to carpal tunnel pain and nerve damage due to pressure on the median nerve.
- rheumatoid arthritis – arthritis causes the lining around the tendons to become inflamed. This means that space within the carpal tunnel can be altered which puts more pressure on the median nerve.
- lifestyle – using repetitive flexing of the wrist or vibrating tools can create harmful pressure on the median nerve and long-term damage to the carpal tunnel.
- obesity – excessive weight puts more pressure on the median nerve.
It is important to note that these risk factors may contribute to an increased chance of developing carpal tunnel pain. To reduce the risk, it is recommended that we regularly take breaks from repetitive tasks and avoid activities that make our wrists flex in extreme directions.
Again, it is important to ensure that you discuss non-surgical treatment options with your pain doctor. Many individuals think that open surgery and narcotics are the only treatment option for carpal tunnel pain. During a consultation, your pain doctor will learn about your medical history and risk factors before establishing the nature of your pain and a treatment plan for you.
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