CTS is a common illness that causes tingling, numbness, and discomfort in the hand and forearm. Carpal tunnel syndrome develops when the tunnel at the base of the hand becomes constricted or when the synovial membrane that covers the flexor tendons swells and presses on the median nerve, cutting off its blood supply. Numbness, pain, tingling, and weakness may develop in the hand as a result of this excessive pressure on the nerve.
Causes of CTS
There is usually more than one component at play when someone suffers from carpal tunnel syndrome. Studies show that the condition is more likely to affect women and older people.
Other things that can cause CTS include:
- Heredity: This is most certainly a significant factor. Some people may be born with a narrower carpal tunnel than others, or they may have anatomical variations that cause the nerve to have more or less room.
- Repetitive hand usage: If you do the same hand and wrist movements or activities for a long time, you may hurt the tendons in your wrist. This can cause swelling, which in turn puts pressure on the nerve.
- Hand and wrist placements: Pressure on the nerve can be increased by engaging in repetitive motions that require prolonged flexion or extension of the hand and wrist.
- Certain health disorders.
- Old age, and so on.
Your doctor will first examine you, talk to you about your symptoms, and go over your medical history. The next step is a couple of tests, which may include:
- Tinel’s sign: a medical test in which the doctor taps over the median nerve in the wrist to see if it causes a tingly feeling in the fingers.
- X-rays: If there is pain or swelling in the wrist, or if there is evidence of arthritis or trauma, X-rays of the wrist may be administered.
- Phalen test: The patient lays his or her elbows on a table and then allows the wrist to flex forward naturally.
Carpal tunnel syndrome typically worsens over time without therapy, even though this is a slow process. Therefore, it is crucial to get checked out by a doctor and get a diagnosis as soon as possible. If detected and treated early enough, the disease’s progression can be slowed down or stopped.
If carpal tunnel syndrome is noticed and treated early enough, the symptoms can often be taken care of without the need for surgery. If your diagnosis isn’t clear or if your symptoms aren’t extreme, your doctor will first suggest non-surgical treatments such as:
- The use of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs like ibuprofen to reduce pain and swelling.
- Cortisone injections
- Putting on a wrist splint before bed
If non-surgical methods of treatment don’t work or only give temporary relief, surgery may be suggested.
The following factors are considered while deciding whether to recommend surgery:
- If your thumb muscles has been numb and weak for a long time, surgery may be recommended to stop the condition from getting worse.
- Test results
- The intensity of the symptoms
- Results of the physical examination
- The results of non-surgical treatment