Carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS) is a condition that occurs within the hands, and it causes the tissues and wrist structures to swell, putting pressure on the bones, nerves, and causing a good deal of pain. The median nerve that goes through the wrist may get compressed for a number of reasons, one of which is repetitive activities at work.
When this condition is present, it can make completing different activities difficult, and going without treatment for CTS can cause the condition to worsen overtime. There are two different types of treatments for CTS, and they involve the use of surgical and non-surgical procedures.
Non-Surgical Carpal Tunnel Syndrome Treatment
There are many non-surgical methods available to treat carpal tunnel syndrome. These include:
- Wrist splinting – One common procedure used by Phoenix workers compensation doctors for CTS treatment is wrist splinting. This is done by applying a splint, which holds the wrist in place while you are sleeping. By keeping the wrist in place, the damaged area will not move around and aggravate the median nerve. Often, using a wrist splint is effective in treating the symptoms of CTS that occur during the nighttime, such as tingling and numbing of the wrist and hand.
- NSAIDS –Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDS) are commonly prescribed and used in those who have carpel tunnel syndrome. These are an effective treatment because they decrease swelling and inflammation. When the swelling is alleviated, many symptoms reside. This type of medication may be taken over the course of the day in order to prevent swelling and pain associated with CTS.
- Steroids –Steroids are often used with anti-inflammatory drugs in order to stop the inflammation of CTS from occurring. This type of steroid may be applied through the use of a cream, or it can be injected into the area of the wrist or hand. By providing the area with steroids, pain subsides, and these drugs can prevent flare ups from occurring in the first place. The use of steroids is not common on its own, but they are often combined along with over-the-counter or prescription pain medications as a form of treatment.
- Prescription medications – Prescription pain medications may be used for the pain when over-the-counter drugs are not effective. The type of medication prescribed depends upon each case, and the patient may be given a stronger anti-inflammatory prescription or a narcotic to treat the pain.
Surgical Carpal Tunnel Syndrome Treatment
Surgical procedures for CTS are done in order to stop the pressure on the median nerve. There are two different surgical methods used to relieve the pressure and provide the patient with relief.
- Endoscopic CTS surgery – One procedure involves the use of a small device called an endoscope. This scope is inserted into the hand through a small incision, and it allows the doctor who is performing the procedure to see the area where they are working within the hand.
- Traditional surgery – Another CTS procedure is traditional surgery. This involves making a cut on the palm of the hand, then cutting the ligament in order to relieve the pressure put on the nerves within the hand and wrist.
Once either surgical procedure is complete, the doctor will generally suggest that you begin to use the wrist and hand, which will prevent complications from occurring. The surgical area will generally take a few weeks to a few months to heal. While these surgical procedures are generally a last resort for those who have carpel tunnel syndrome, they are recommended early on for people who are experiencing pain that is compromising their well-being and daily life.
Some people will still experience pain after having the surgery done, but it is generally to a lesser degree and can be better maintained by the non-surgical methods of treatment that are available.