Carpal tunnel syndrome can be easily treated if symptoms are mild. National Neuroscience Institute (NNI) Department of Neurology explains.
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What is carpal tunnel syndrome?
Carpal tunnel syndrome is a condition characterised by numbness, tingling, pain or weakness in the hand. This happens when the main median nerve in the forearm becomes compressed as it passes through the carpal tunnel – a passageway of tissues and bones at the wrist and base of the hand.
Your doctor will carry out a physical examination and may conduct tests such as a nerve conduction study (NCS) and an electromyography (EMG) to diagnose carpal tunnel syndrome.
Carpal tunnel syndrome treatment
There are several treatment options which can be used alone or in combination, depending on the severity of the condition. Carpal tunnel syndrome treatment options include:
- Wrist brace/splint
- Anti-inflammatory medication
- Steroid injection
- Non-surgical treatment of carpal tunnel syndrome includes activity modification, wrist splint, oral anti-inflammatory medication and corticosteroid injection into the carpal tunnel.
In severe cases of carpal tunnel syndrome, surgery may be recommended. The surgery releases the carpal ligament, taking pressure off the median nerve. The choice of surgical procedure lies between open carpal tunnel release and endoscopic carpal tunnel release.
Tips to prevent carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS)
- Avoid using a tight grip while working with a pen, computer mouse or other hand-held devices.
- Give your hands and wrists frequent breaks.
- Keep your hands warm if your work environment is cold.
- Do regular hand- and wrist-stretching exercises.