Conditions & Treatments

Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

What is

Carpal Tunnel Syndrome?

Carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS) is a condition characterized by increased pressure on the median nerve at the wrist. In other words, it is a pinched nerve at the wrist. Symptoms may include tingling, numbness, and pain in the arm, hand, and fingers.

Why is it called carpal tunnel syndrome? Well, there is a space in the wrist called the “carpal tunnel” where the median nerve and nine tendons extend from the forearm into the hand. Carpal tunnel syndrome occurs when pressure builds up from swelling in this area and puts pressure on the nerve. That’s where the pain comes in. When the nerve pressure eventually increases, you may experience anything from numbness to tingling and/or pain in the fingers and hands.

What Causes

CTS?

Although there are several theories, what causes carpal tunnel syndrome is unclear. Nerve pressure can occur from the following:

  • Maintaining a bent wrist for an extended period of time. Activities that can trigger pressure on the median nerve include ongoing typing, consistent tapping, or repetitive grasping.
  • Joint dislocations, fractures, and arthritis leading to narrowing of the tunnel.
  • Fluid retention during pregnancy that causes swelling in the tunnel.

Thyroid conditions, rheumatoid arthritis, diabetes, and several other conditions can also be associated with carpal tunnel syndrome. That’s why it’s important to seek a medical professional before jumping to undiagnosed conclusions.

CTS Signs and

Symptoms

In most cases, carpal tunnel syndrome symptoms include light to severe pain, tingling, numbness, or a combination of all three. We recommend documenting when you’re experiencing discomfort.

  • Is the tingling occurring in your fingers, particularly the thumb, index, and/or ring finger?
  • Are you experiencing the numbness or pain most often at nighttime or during your usual daily activities?
  • Have you noticed a weaker grip, causing uncharacteristic clumsiness?
  • Have you noticed difficulty utilizing your “pinching” function?

These are important factors for hand surgeons such as Dr. Arora to know.

Diagnosing

Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

Fortunately, there are a few ways that hand doctors like Dr. Arora diagnose carpal tunnel syndrome in a patient. To start off, providing a detailed list of answers to the questions we listed above will be helpful. Then, Arora Hand Surgery will review your medical history. We may also recommend an X-ray be taken of the affected wrist in order to exclude other causes of pain such as arthritis or a fracture.

In some instances, lab tests may be performed if we suspect there is a medical condition that is associated with CTS. Electrodiagnostic studies (NCV–nerve conduction velocities and EMG–electromyogram), which record and analyze the electrical activity in your muscles, may be done to check for other possible nerve problems.

Surgery &

Other Treatments

The symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome have the possibility of improvement without surgery. Our wrist doctor may recommend one or more of the following remedies:

  • Helping you learn other patterns of hand use.
  • Suggesting tools in your daily life that will provide relief in the activities likely causing the carpal tunnel syndrome symptoms.
  • Splinting the wrist in a straight position to help reduce pressure on the nerve. We recommend wearing the splint at night as well.
  • A steroid injection into the carpal tunnel to reduce swelling around the nerve.

If the symptoms are extreme or do not improve, surgery may be recommended as your next option. The surgery’s objective is to decrease pressure on the nerve by essentially enlarging the tunnel.

The recovery after surgery varies, with most patients healing from the incision soreness between several weeks to months. Eliminating the numbness and/or tingling and regaining your original strength may also take up to several months to achieve. It is important to note that, in extreme and unique cases, carpal tunnel syndrome symptoms may not completely go away after surgery. However, this is rare.

If you are experiencing wrist pain, Dr. Arora can evaluate your condition for a thorough diagnosis. Braces for carpal tunnel syndrome treatment are also available right at each of the southeast Michigan offices, and they can be obtained via insurance or by cash pay.

Make an appointment to see him in Warren or Macomb Township in Macomb County, West Bloomfield in Oakland County, or Howell in Livingston County.

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Dr. Aroras office from my first call to schedule my appointment was friendly. Walking in the first day, I felt like I was in a nice atmosphere. Dr. Arora was EXCELLENT in taking great care of my hand injury. He was gentle and very understanding to the concerns I had about my hand. His expertise was admirable and I would recommend anyone with an injury to their hand to his office to be under his care. Because of him, I have healed faster than expected and will make an 100% recovery! Thank you Dr.

Jackie S.

I first thought I was going to have to have painful injections or surgery, but Dr. Arora suggested physical therapy may do the trick. I was doubtful, but I agreed to do it. Now, my pain is gone, and with the help of an ergonomic keyboard at work to keep my hands in the correct position, I am virtually pain free. The therapy strengthened my wrists and shoulders, and built more flexibility into my wrists.

Jerry T.

My experience with this doctor was positive from the outset. Dr. Arora was kind and spent a great deal of time with me. Staff was friendly. The office was nice and bright.

Ariel G.

Very friendly and helpful Great staff!!! Doctor Arora was very professional and did great work. I was very happy with everything!

L B.