By Dr. Michael P. Miladore, M.D.
Do you suffer from numbness, tingling and pain in your hands? Maybe you’re not sure what is causing these symptoms. A common condition that might be the root cause is carpal tunnel syndrome. Here are five of the most commonly asked questions about this condition.
1. What is carpal tunnel syndrome?
It is a pinched nerve at the wrist, called the median nerve. It causes numbness and tingling, as well as pins and needles and pain to the thumb, index and middle fingers. These symptoms can be common during the night.
2. What do I do if I think I have carpal tunnel syndrome?
Electrodiagnostic studies (EMG / NCS) are recommended for almost all patients. These tests help determine the severity of the nerve compression. Mild to moderate compression can respond well to nonoperative treatment. Surgery is usually recommended for significant compression.
3. What are non-operative treatment options?
Anti-inflammatory medications such as Ibuprofen, Advil, Motrin and Aleve can be helpful. The next step is wearing a wrist brace through the night and during activities to keep the wrist straight, which takes pressure off of the nerve. Another common option is steroid injections, which can be done at the office and can help most people feel 50 to 75 percent better for about six weeks.
4. What is a carpal tunnel release?
A carpal tunnel release is a surgical procedure that releases the tight ligament around the nerve and can help to alleviate symptoms. This procedure takes about 10 minutes to perform and patients go home the same day. They are encouraged to move their fingers and wrists right away. A post-operative follow-up appointment is required at two weeks after the surgery, at which the sutures are removed and the patient can begin therapy.
5. What can be expected after surgery?
Patients almost always experience less pain and symptoms at night shortly after surgery. Numbness and tingling are usually alleviated in individuals with mild to moderate carpal tunnel syndrome, but those with more significant compression may have some residual numbness and tingling.
Dr. Michael P. Miladore, MD, is an orthopedic specialist with a focus on hand, elbow and shoulder surgery, including fracture treatment. To schedule an appointment with Dr. Miladore, call (330) 758-0577 Ext. 1523.
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