Carpal tunnel syndrome can cause pain, tingling, numbness, and reduced mobility. Surgery can permanently eliminate the symptoms, but it’s not always necessary.
Our team at the Orthopaedic Institute of Henderson can effectively diagnose and treat carpal tunnel syndrome with or without surgery. We offer conservative carpal tunnel syndrome therapy without pain, surgical intervention, or side effects.
What is carpal tunnel syndrome?
Carpal tunnel syndrome is a condition that develops in the hand when the tissues surrounding wrist tendons place pressure on the median nerve. The tissues are responsible for keeping those tendons lubricated to make wrist and hand movement possible.
These tissues are called the synovium. When the synovium tissues swell, they eventually crowd the median nerve.
Don’t put off therapy for carpal tunnel syndrome. If left untreated, the median nerve will be damaged. The bottleneck in the carpal tunnel puts pressure on the nerve, and the pinched nerve begins to hurt. The pain is accompanied by tingling, numbness, and discomfort in the thumb, index finger, and middle finger.
How we treat carpal tunnel syndrome without surgery
This condition can become increasingly damaging if it’s not treated in the early stages.
First, we carefully inspect your hand and wrist, looking for weakness in the muscles surrounding your thumb, numbness, tingling, or pain in your fingers. We may also use an electrophysiological test, a nerve conduction study that gauges how well your median nerve is functioning.
Then, we recommend an ideal course of action for your specific condition. This may include:
- Splinting your wrist
- Nerve gliding exercises
- Therapeutic injections
- Physical therapy
Other short-term solutions include icing the wrist to relieve acute pain or using NSAIDs such as ibuprofen.
When is a wrist splint an option?
Using a splint to immobilize the wrist or therapeutic injections should be the first line of defense against carpal tunnel syndrome progression.
In the case of mild to moderate symptoms, many sufferers initially wear a splint at night for a few weeks. Symptoms are usually most noticeable at night because the hand often bends during sleep. Splinting your wrist prevents this.
It’s also important that you move the joint normally during the day so that it doesn’t stiffen and the muscles don’t become weak.
Does it help to avoid certain movements?
Excessive and incorrect strain on the wrists can contribute to worsening the symptoms.
In some of those affected, the symptoms occur primarily during one-sided activities such as manual work or working with heavily vibrating equipment such as a jackhammer.
For office work, ergonomic keyboards with a raised and curved keyboard may help prevent the condition. They’re intended to keep the hands in a neutral position and allow for gentler typing.
What can you expect from physical therapy?
Range-of-motion exercises can reduce pressure on the median nerve in the carpal tunnel and relieve discomfort. Several specific wrist exercises stretch and strengthen the hands.
We may also recommend massages, yoga, and exercises for nerve mobilization.
If your carpal tunnel syndrome is severe or doesn’t improve with treatment, we may recommend carpal tunnel release surgery.
If you’re experiencing wrist pain or carpal tunnel syndrome symptoms, call our Henderson, Nevada, office or request an appointment online today.