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Carpal tunnel syndrome, also known as median nerve compression, is a condition resulting in things like tingling, numbness, and weakness in the hands. These symptoms typically take place when your median nerve experiences pressure. This nerve runs through the length of your arm and through a small passage located in your wrist.
What is Carpal Tunnel Syndrome?
Now that you know what median nerve compression is, let us look at more important details.
Signs And Symptoms of Median Nerve Compression
The symptoms of this syndrome will always begin slowly but can stay for a very long duration. If you spot the problem early, you will observe things like numbness at night, pain, or tingling in the fingers (particularly the thumb, middle, and index fingers).
Many people usually sleep with curled wrists, which is why numbness is highly likely to happen at night. If the numbness gets worse, it might even wake you from sleep.
The nighttime symptoms are usually the first to be reported. During the early stages of the condition, you can get rid of the nighttime symptoms by just shaking your hands. However, during the day, you will experience things like decreased feelings around the fingertips, inability to use hands for simplest tasks, and tingling in fingers.
Over time, you might notice that the symptoms keep getting worse. As such, it is advisable to seek medical attention if you feel that your median nerve compression is getting out of control.
How The Syndrome Is Diagnosed
When you show up at your doctor’s office, they’ll try to establish the actual source of the problem. They will ask you some questions regarding your medical history and symptoms and carry some tests to make an informed decision.
Your medical practitioner will look for the Tinel’s sign. To do this, the doctor will tap the median nerve around the nerve. They will then ask you if you feel any sort of tingling sensation in the fingers. If you answer yes, then you might be suffering from the syndrome.
Before making the final decision, your doctor will conduct the wrist flexion test, which is also known as the Phalen test.
During the Phalen test, you will rest your elbow on a flat table and let your wrist fall freely. If you have the syndrome, you will encounter some numbness and tingling after around 60 seconds. If this symptom appears sooner, then your problem might have gotten worse already.
In some cases, your doctor will use x-rays to see if you have carpal tunnel syndrome. But if they have to conduct this test, it means the problem might be more than median nerve compression.
How To Treat the Syndrome?
There are two ways to treat the syndrome; surgically or non-surgically. Note that despite the treatment process, there are challenges involved. However, if your case is less severe, then a non-surgical technique would be the most appropriate.
Surgical treatment would be effective if your case is severe. However, no matter how bad your condition might seem, non-surgical treatment will be given priority. For instance, you will start by wearing a wrist splint while sleeping at night.
If that doesn’t seem to work, your medical practitioner will advise you to take some anti-inflammatory drugs like ibuprofen. In some cases, cortisone injections will be used. Most treatments will be focused on changing your environment to alleviate the pain and numbness around the wrist and fingers.
If your problem doesn’t respond to non-surgical treatment, you might have to undergo surgical procedures. This will be done to enhance the size of the tunnel so that there is minimal pressure on the tendons and nerves.
Carpal tunnel syndrome is not life-threatening. However, if it gets worse, it might reduce the quality of your life.
Even undertaking the simplest tasks like driving and using your phone might be a considerable challenge. If your condition persists, be sure to get in touch with an expert as soon as possible.