Carpal Tunnel Syndrome Treatments: Surgical and Nonsurgical

A person develops Carpal Tunnel Syndrome when there is a compression of the nerve which travels over the carpal bones near the wrist. Repetitive movement is a significant factor in the development of a carpal tunnel. This condition of the hand and wrist causes pain, tingling, numbness, and a burning sensation. Pain in hand often wakes a person from a sound sleep.

The goal of treatment for carpal tunnel is to restore normal function of the hand and wrist and alleviate pain issues. There are no risks when the person decides to use natural healing options to eliminate carpal tunnel pain.

Natural Pain Relief

  • Chiropractic care
  • Using a wrist splint
  • Physical therapy
  • Occupational Therapy
  • Avoid repetitious movements of the affected hand
  • Ultrasound
  • Hand and wrist exercises such as stretching and rang-of-motion
  • NSAIDS to relieve pain and inflammation
  • Elevate your hand and wrist as much as possible
  • Pain relieving ointment
  • Keep your hand and wrist warm
  • Injections into the hand or wrist

Surgical Options

The doctor considers surgical options for carpal tunnel if all other natural options fail. Doctors now believe a surgical option a last resort for carpal tunnel syndrome.

Surgery decreases the healing time; the carpal tunnel may return; there is a risk of nerve damage, the need for painkillers, and the risk of infection at the incision site.

Endoscopic Surgery

If the doctor opts for an endoscopic surgical procedure, there will be no open incision into the palm. Less area of the hand is disturbed. Some people notice immediate relief of their pain and numbness. Pain relief for others may come in the following weeks or months.

You can expect a shorter recovery period after endoscopic surgery. Thus the person may return to work sooner than after open surgery because the procedure does not require cutting the palm open and disturbing a large area of the hand.

Open Surgery

Open surgery is where the doctor makes an incision across the palm. This procedure requires the person be off from work up to eight weeks.

Both types of surgery can include injury to nerves, tendons, and blood vessels, the risk of infection, anesthesia risk, and prescribed painkiller side effects.

If you’re considering hand or wrist surgery and are looking to speak with an orthopedic surgeon, contact Michigan Hand and Wrist today. 

What Causes Arthritis In Your Hands?

Arthritis is an inflammation of the joints, however, there are many types of arthritis. Each type has different causes and treatments. According to the Mayo Clinic, osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis are two of the most common types. Both can cause pain, inflammation, swelling and stiffness in the hands.

Osteoarthritis

Osteoarthritis is the most common type. There are a number of risk factors for this type of arthritis. They include:

  • Traumatic injury such as a broken bone
  • Heavy usage such as repetitive motion
  • Genetic predisposition
  • Obesity
  • Aging

With osteoarthritis, the protective cushioning between the joints wears out. Bones rubbing directly against other bones can result in structural changes. Bone spurs are one example. Another example is the formation of bumps called Heberden’s nodes at the joint of the finger closest to the nail. Depending on the severity, treatments such as bone splinting may become necessary to correct deformities and prevent further deterioration.

Rheumatoid Arthritis

Scientists are less certain about the causes of rheumatoid arthritis but believe that like osteoarthritis, genetic predisposition can be a contributing factor. Other causal factors may include:

  • A triggering event such as an infection
  • Hormonal imbalance

Rheumatoid arthritis differs from osteoarthritis in that it is a type of auto-immune disease. It affects the membrane that surrounds, lubricates, and protects the body’s synovial joints. Synovial fluid produced in the membrane contains hyaluronic acid, albumin, and phagocytic cells that cleanse the joint of debris. The body’s immune system mistakes the synovial membrane as a foreign invader and attacks it. That attack causes inflammation resulting in pain, limited movement, and eventual erosion of the joint.

While there is no cure for either type of arthritis, experts advise regular exercise to maintain joint flexibility. There are specific hand exercises recommended for retaining finger joint strength and dexterity. Some types of hand exercises, such as squeezing a ball, can put too much pressure on joints and should be avoided.

If you’re looking for a skilled orthopedic surgeon, contact Michigan Hand and Wrist today!

What Are The Most Common Hand Injuries?

The human hand is extraordinary in design and function. The hand and the wrist contain a total of 27 bones in various sizes and lengths. Around the bones exists an assortment of nerves, muscles, tendons, ligaments and joint cartilage. Damage to any of these structures can cause various types of common hand injuries.

Carpal Tunnel

Caused by a pinching of the median nerve, carpal tunnel is more common amongst woman than men. Potential causes include:

  • Inflammation from arthritis.
  • Nerve damage from diabetes.
  • Repetitive flexing of the wrist.
  • Operation of vibrating tools.

Direct Blow or Impact

This acute injury commonly occurs from a fall, an abnormal bend, twist, or jerking of the hand. Common injuries include:

  • Skier’s thumb or UCL tear. Also known as a ligament injury.
  • Mallet or baseball finger. This is a bent fingertip caused by a ruptured tendon.
  • Sprains. This injury involves damage to the ligaments attached to the bone. Common injuries can range from a stretch in the ligament to a complete tear.
  • Compartment syndrome. This painful condition is when swelling takes place in an enclosed area. This puts pressure on the arteries, veins, and nerves which may cause permanent damage.
  • Broken bones. This includes fractures which can range from a hairline crack to being broken into two.
  • Dislocations. This common injury occurs often amongst athletes and hard physical labor occupations.

Burns

Various burns to the hand can often cause deformity, discoloration, loss of tissue, and blistering. Burns are often caused by:

  • Contact or proximity to a direct flame.
  • Hot liquids such as cooking oil and water.
  • Food burns.
  • Contact with a heated surface.

These common hand injuries can often cause short to long term and permanent damage. If any of these injuries occur, a medical evaluation is recommended. If you need an orthopedic surgeon for your hand injury, contact the team at Michigan Hand and Wrist to get help today. 

What Is Carpal Tunnel Pain Caused From?

Carpal tunnel syndrome is a nerve compression disease in which someone will experience numbness, tingling, and even some pain in their hand or arm. In some more severe situations, it can make using the hand very uncomfortable and challenging. Ultimately, a pinched nerve located in the wrist causes carpal tunnel syndrome. There are several different common tasks that can often lead to carpal tunnel syndrome.

Keyboard Typing

One risk factor that can cause carpal tunnel syndrome is poor positioning of your hands while you are working with a computer. If you commonly use a keyboard or computer mouse, if you do not position your hand in the correct position, it could lead to a pinched nerve. To ensure that using the keyboard or mouse does not cause carpal tunnel, it would be beneficial to take breaks from typing every hour and to position your hands in a way that ensures your wrists and hands are supported. This will help to relieve stress and encourage better blood flow.

Construction Jobs

While some people develop carpal tunnel due to their work environment in an office, others can develop the symptoms if they work in a construction or other labor-intensive job. Those that use hand tools or other power tools will be exposed to prolonged vibrations from the machinery. These vibrations can cause undue stress on your wrists and hands. These can then result in a pinched nerve and the carpal tunnel syndrome symptoms.

Health Risk Factors

While there are physical jobs that can result in carpal tunnel syndrome, there are other risk factors that can result in it as well. Those with a range of risk factors will be more likely to develop the symptoms. These risk factors typically include those with diabetes, high blood pressure, or even thyroid dysfunction. Furthermore, those that are dealing with obesity and other related health concerns will be more susceptible to getting carpal tunnel syndrome.

If you’re looking for a reliable orthopedic surgeon, contact the team at Michigan Hand and Wrist today.