Statistics indicate carpal tunnel syndrome impacts at least three percent of adults at some point in their lives. Women are three times more likely to report carpal tunnel than men, according to the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, and the type of work and activity you do could make you more susceptible to the condition, regardless of your gender.
Symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome can include pain or discomfort in your palm or wrists, numbness or tingling in the hand or fingers, as well as weakness. The good news is that you have options if you are experiencing such symptoms. Carpal tunnel treatment in New Jersey can range from easy solutions, such as wrist splinting, to more comprehensive approaches, such as surgery. The type of treatment that is right for you depends on your lifestyle, your overall health and the severity of your carpal tunnel issues.
Nonsurgical methods of treatment are typically used when carpal tunnel is caught early or symptoms are mild. They might also be used when surgery isn’t an option for health or other reasons. Surgical treatments are usually recommended when symptoms are severe enough to seriously impact lifestyle or work, when symptoms are not responding to more conservative methods and when a long-term solution is required.
Wrist Splinting to Treat Carpal Tunnel
Carpal tunnel symptoms usually develop because of repetitive motion within the wrist or hands. A wrist splint holds the joints and muscles in the wrist still, reducing motion and the irritation it can cause. Certain types of splints can be used during the day to ensure motion in the wrist is limited as you type or perform other repetitive movement tasks, reducing the potential symptoms or worsening of carpal tunnel syndrome. Wearing a splint at night can also be a good idea if you wake up with pain, numbness or tingling regularly.
When used consistently and correctly, splints can provide strong benefits to those with mild carpal tunnel issues. There is also little risk associated with using a splint.
Anti-Inflammatory Drugs for Carpal Tunnel Treatment
Part of the reason for tenderness in the wrist and hand is that carpal tunnel injuries or overuse can lead to inflammation. Over-the-counter anti-inflammatory drugs (known as NSAIDs) can reduce discomfort. Many patients take medications such as ibuprofen for short-term relief.
However, NSAIDs don’t actually improve the carpal tunnel syndrome itself and there are risks to the liver associated with taking the medication long-term or too often. This means you can’t usually rely on the medication as a permanent fix.
Corticosteroid Injections for Carpal Tunnel Symptoms
Another way to treat the inflammation that causes the nerve pain associated with carpal tunnel syndrome is with corticosteroid injections. A doctor provides these injections intermittently to treat pain symptoms; the medication is injected directly into the carpal tunnel for maximum impact. Depending on how your body interacts with the injection and how severe your carpal tunnel symptoms are, the injection can provide some level of pain relief for weeks or even months.
Although not an invasive procedure, these injections do have some risks not associated with OTC medications or splints. In rare cases, ruptures or weakening can occur, and death of the nearby bone is a side effect in a small number of cases. Make sure you talk to your doctor and understand the risks, but know that most major side effects only impact a small number of people and there typically isn’t any recovery period.
Treating the Underlying Cause of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
In some cases, an underlying problem might be causing your carpal tunnel syndrome. That’s why it’s important to seek a medical consultation before you attempt to treat your own symptoms with ibuprofen or a splint. An experienced doctor can rule out other issues or refer you to the proper treatment if underlying illnesses or injuries are causing your symptoms. Carpal tunnel treatment in New Jersey should always include this step.
Surgical Carpal Tunnel Treatment in New Jersey
Finally, your doctor can help you understand if you’re a good candidate for carpal tunnel surgery. The surgery is unique to each person because the exact injury or cause of your symptoms may be slightly different.
During surgical carpal tunnel treatment in New Jersey, the surgeon makes a cut in the palm of your hand. They may use a tiny camera during the procedure to guide them while they divide a ligament in your wrist in a way that reduces pressure on the appropriate nerves. In most cases, the ligament won’t regrow, and that new space provides more room for tendons to move without causing pain. Risks associated with surgery include infection, a sensitive scar or injury to some of the nearby tendons, but the risks are not as great as those associated with more invasive procedures such as abdominal surgery.
In most cases, surgical carpal tunnel treatment in New Jersey is provided in an outpatient setting, which means you can go home the same day. The recovery period depends on a variety of factors and can last weeks to months. You’ll probably need to have a bandage on your hand for the first week or two and will need to wear a splint as directed to protect the healing wrist and hand. Physical therapy and appropriate exercises must be completed to strengthen the wrist and hand following surgery.
Overall, carpal tunnel surgery and other treatments have had a positive impact on thousands of patients. Carpal tunnel treatment in New Jersey can help you live a pain-free lifestyle, and the earlier you seek assistance, the more likely you’ll see a positive outcome.