Carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS) affects the lower arm and hand and occurs when the median nerve gets pinched or compressed due to swelling or irritation. The carpal tunnel itself is a passage in the wrist that protects the nerves leading to the hand and the tendons that move your fingers. Nearly everyone experiences mild CTS symptoms at some point in their lives. Office workers and anyone doing a job with repetitive hand motion may experience problems more often. Dr. Varveris and the PhysioNetics team in Naples, Florida can treat your pain or numbness and teach you how to ease symptoms and prevent recurrence.
The nerve that passes through the carpal tunnel, called the median nerve, suffers compression which in turn causes the CTS symptoms. The tendons can, for several reasons, experience inflammation, pressing the median nerve against the ligament at the top of the carpal tunnel.
Numbness and tingling in the hand usually result from compression of the median nerve. This numbness and tingling can graduate to numbness and pain throughout the day and may cause sleep loss when it happens at night. Over time, the CTS patients may experience reduced grip strength and weakness of the hand if the condition remains untreated.
Because the median nerve originates at the neck, pressure on the nerve occurring anywhere between the neck and the wrist may produce symptoms to those caused by CTS. While repetitive strain remains the most likely cause, professional evaluation to determine the reason for carpal tunnel collapse may be necessary in some cases.
Initially, CTS affects the thumb, index and middle fingers, with tingling and numbness coming and going. One quirk of CTS is that the little finger isn’t usually affected. As the condition develops, feelings of pain may accompany the other symptoms and sensations may extend through the wrist and up the arm. Numbness and tingling may become constant. Grip strength may become weaker since the thumb’s motion signals come through the median nerve. Left untreated, CTS can lead to permanent muscle and nerve damage.
Fortunately for CTS clients, there are many treatment options. As well as lifestyle counseling and exercise instruction that a client can use at home and at work, PhysioNetics uses techniques such as: