Your hand and wrist have a passageway of bones and ligaments known as the carpal tunnel. This is also where the median nerve passes through, which provides your hand with sensory and motor support. As you can imagine, space is limited in such a busy tunnel. That means when things go wrong, the median nerve can become compressed or irritated. When this irritation or compression becomes chronic, the result is carpal tunnel syndrome (CPT).
Our pain management clinic in St. Augustine, FL, has researched CPT and knows it usually results from unusual pressure on the median nerve. If these conditions aren’t relieved in a timely manner, permanent damage can result.
One of the most common causes of CTS is repetitive strain causing the carpal tunnel to collapse. This can result from anything from the overuse of the hand and wrist in a sports activity or hobby to poor ergonomics in an office setting. Conditions that cause nerve damage—such as diabetes—can also make the median nerve more susceptible to damage from compression.
So, what can you do about CTS? The first step is to discontinue the action or posture causing the pressure on the median nerve. By resting, the inflammation has time to subside, and the tissue can return to normal. This will allow the CTS to heal on its own.
Without total healing, however, you remain vulnerable to re-injury. This can be even more troublesome when you consider that you may be free of symptoms before the CTS fully heals. Proper diagnosis often requires medical imaging and nerve tests. Your doctor can then provide the necessary treatments to help you overcome your CTS episode. This can include wearing wrist splints, occupational therapy, joint treatments, steroid injections, or even surgery in worst-case scenarios.