What is carpal tunnel syndrome?
Carpal tunnel syndrome is a relatively common condition that develops when the median nerve – a major nerve that provides sensation and muscle control to the hand – becomes squeezed or compressed as it travels through a narrow passageway in the wrist (the carpal tunnel). Because this passageway is very rigid, it has minimal capacity to stretch or otherwise increase in size to accommodate swelling in the surrounding tissues. In particular, if the synovial membrane that lines the wrist joint becomes inflamed due to overuse or arthritis, it can take up significant space in the carpal tunnel and pressure the median nerve.
What does carpal tunnel syndrome feel like?
The symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome may include:
- Pain, numbness, tingling and burning sensations in the hand, especially in the thumb and index, middle and ring fingers
- Intermittent shock-like sensations that radiate from the wrist to the thumb and index, middle and ring fingers
- Muscle weakness in the hand that makes it difficult to perform fine movements, such as fastening buttons
- A propensity to drop objects due to a loss of proprioception (awareness of the positioning of the hand)
- Pain or tingling sensations that travel upward from the forearm to the shoulder
In many cases, the symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome develop slowly without a specific injury. Many people first notice discomfort after holding an object, such as a phone or book, with a bent wrist for a long period of time. Over time, the pressure on the median nerve may increase, causing the symptoms to occur more frequently or persist for longer periods of time.
How is carpal tunnel syndrome treated?
When carpal tunnel syndrome is diagnosed and treated early, its symptoms can often be addressed effectively without surgery. Some options include:
- Bracing – A brace can be worn during certain activities to keep the wrist in a straight or neutral position and reduce pressure on the median nerve.
- Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) – Over-the-counter medications such as ibuprofen and naproxen can help relieve pain and inflammation.
- Lifestyle modifications – Activities that involve holding the hand and wrist in the same position for an extended period of time – particularly if the wrist is flexed or extended – often aggravate symptoms.
- Corticosteroid injections – Injecting a powerful anti-inflammatory medication directly into the carpal tunnel can provide lasting (but temporary) relief.
- Physical therapy – Physician-recommended nerve-gliding exercising can help the median nerve pass more freely through the carpal tunnel.
If nonsurgical treatment does provide effective relief within several weeks, a physician may recommend a surgical procedure to relieve pressure on the median nerve.
If you’d like to learn more about treatment options for carpal tunnel syndrome – both conservative and surgical – you are welcome to contact Advanced Orthopaedics & Sports Medicine of Houston, TX.
To request an appointment, please enter the information on the form on the right and press the “Continue” button to start the appointment request process.
1Professional Building II At North Cypress Medical Center
2North Cypress Professional Building At Lakewood Crossing
3North Cypress Professional Building At Towne Lake
4Advanced Orthopaedics Memorial
What Our Patients Are Saying
This Hospital/clinic is the best that will take care of your pain and ailments. I will never trust any one else but Dr. Alain Elbaz to heal my body. The staff is awesome, polite, respectful and as professional as the team that works with Dr. Elbaz. I recommend him and all the doctors in the clinic because of their experience and honesty.
I have been fighting chronic knee pain for ten years following a knee replacement, a bone infection, and subsequent knee revision surgery. After a number of failed solutions to pain relief, Dr. Patel introduced me to RF nerve ablation procedure which has been very effective in improving my quality of life. Dr. Patel’s professionalism and proficiency are sincerely appreciated.
Dr. Mohr and his staff are very friendly people. They treated my father very well and made him feel comfortable in his uncomfortable situation.
Yes, I would certainly recommend Advanced Orthopedics & Sports Medicine to family & friends. My wife and I both have been going to see Dr. Mills for the past year, and both of us have had hand surgery performed by same. He is always very polite, and will discuss all options with you, and will not cut you short of time. He listens, he’s very professional, and bottom line is he is a great doctor. Plus all the staff that we have had contact with are very polite, and professional. Dr. Mills assistant Ms. Alexia Wilburn gets an AA ++
She has been very professional & helpful getting us through our surgeries. Thanks goes out to everyone at Advanced Orthopedics & Sports Medicine for taking care of both of us
Dr mills is exceptional. I would recommend him to anyone
All the staff performed in a professional manner.All of my questions and concerned where explained to me so i could understand them. Great job all around. Thanks
Always treated promptly and kindly at AOSM. Thanks to Dr Mack and his team.
Dr. Bacon is hands-down the best doctor I have ever had (skills, knowledge, bedside manner, and more,) Garrett is an intelligent P. A. who is very approachable and answers any and all questions promptly, and Jose is warm, incredibly compassionate and genuinely shows great concern for the patients. He represents the practice very well. There are so many more positives to say about them, but not enough room! I highly recommend Team Bacon!
Doctor Brooks is the best. His advice to get lubricant injected into my knees has made my life so much better. Kudos!
They are very professional and attentive. I was having shoulder pain. The wait was short and staff very kind.Dr. Fehsenfeld examined gave me a shot in shoulder, and it is much improved.