Are you experiencing tingling in your index and middle fingers? Does your hand suddenly feel weak sometimes? Chances are, you are suffering from carpal tunnel syndrome, a condition in which the median nerve, which passes through your wrist and controls your thumb and fingers, becomes pinched or irritated. Often cause by repetitive movements like typing and texting, carpal tunnel can be diagnosed with a physical evaluation of symptoms and sometimes x-rays. If you are diagnosed with the condition, there are several treatment options to explore:
Wearing a splint on your wrist may help keep you from moving it in ways that contribute to the inflammation that causes the numbness and tingling associated with carpal tunnel. Your doctor can design a splint that fits your wrist exactly, so you don't have to worry about rubbing or discomfort. He or she will tell you when and how to wear it. You may need to wear the splint indefinitely, or you may only need to wear it for a few weeks – it depends on the severity of your carpal tunnel.
For more severe cases of carpal tunnel, your doctor may recommend corticosteroid injections. These injections alter the body's hormone levels, reducing the inflammation that is contributing to your carpal tunnel syndrome. The injection should promptly deliver relief, but you will likely need repeated injections every few months to keep the symptoms at bay.
Sometimes the symptoms of carpal tunnel are not only caused by a pinching of the nerve in the wrist, but also a pinching of the nerve further up towards the neck. When this is the case, conventional treatment that focus on the wrist may provide minimal relief. However, a chiropractor (like Anthony Iuzzolino DC) can adjust your spine, alleviating the pressure on your nerve and helping to further alleviate symptoms. He or she may also show you some exercises you can do at home to help alleviate the pain. Chiropractic adjustments are safe and side effects are very minor. Some patients feel a bit of soreness and fatigue after the adjustment, but this generally fades within a day or so.
If none of the treatments above are successful in alleviating your carpal tunnel pain, your doctor may recommend surgery. Often performed endoscopically (using a small incision and camera), this procedure involves cutting the ligament that swells and presses on your median nerve. Since there are risks involved with any surgery, this treatment is only recommended when all other have failed.