contributed by THE FORT WORTH HAND CENTER
A frustrating and annoying condition
If you find yourself constantly “shaking out” the numbness, tingling, and cramps in your wrist, hands, and fingers while trying to enjoy a few hours of planting flowers in the garden, knitting, or typing an email, it’s time to talk to your doctor about carpal tunnel syndrome. After all, it’s one of the most common hand conditions we see, affecting roughly 4-10 million Americans. And if left unchecked, its symptoms can evolve from being an occasional frustration or annoyance to excruciating and debilitating pain that leads to hand weakness and more.
Carpal tunnel happens when the median nerve, which runs the length of your arm into the palm of your hand, becomes pinched at the wrist. Typically, symptoms are only felt in the thumb and index, middle, and ring fingers on one hand. But it can affect both hands in severe cases—especially if you typically perform repetitive hand activities.
|Carpal tunnel comes with pain or discomfort associated with any of the following symptoms:
• Hand weakness
• Pins and needles sensations
• Difficulty grasping or holding onto things
• Hand and fingers stiffness
• Hot and cold sensations
Painful but treatable
The good news is that many of the cases we see are treatable. The first step is to take a break from the repetitive actions that cause you pain, whether it be knitting, computer use, playing sports, or even carpentry work. That may not be what you want to hear, especially since we use our hands for everything these days. But good old-fashioned rest allows the nerves to calm down and gives you a chance to enjoying life pain-free.
If rest doesn’t work, we may recommend additional conservative methods such as medication, splinting, ice packs and hand elevation, steroid injections, and strengthening exercises (check out these common wrist exercises). Even if surgery is needed, the process is done with expert precision, and patients go on to lead normal lives with little to no reoccurrence of symptoms.
Having reached his late 60s, Thomas encountered a common problem of numbness in his right thumb and index finger at night. He ignored the symptoms at first because they would come and go. And at that time, his daily work as a physician was not impacted. He suspected carpal tunnel syndrome, but his symptoms were unusual, and even a cervical nerve problem seemed possible. After dealing with frequent nights of awakening with numb fingers, it was confirmed that he had carpal tunnel syndrome. He chose us to do the necessary surgery, and the positive effects were immediate. He didn’t miss any work time with the exception of one day for surgery, and his fingers haven’t been numb since. “They handled everything with ease and with a professional approach that a fellow physician can appreciate,” says Thomas.
Olga came to us with an intense fear of having hand surgery. But from the second she walked in the door, we made her feel relaxed and answered every question she had. Olga says, “As soon as you walk into the office you feel the warmth of his entire staff. You are immediately acknowledged and made to feel welcomed.” She left feeling extremely grateful for having her hand surgery, and today she can enjoy all her normal activities pain-free.
Gerry was suffering with severe and chronic pain in both his left and right thumb and carpal areas. We took X-rays, did a comprehensive nerve analysis, and found arthritis and bone spurs on his left and right scaphoid bone at the inner base between the thumb and wrist. The only option for full relief was to remove the scaphoid bone, and the procedure went off without a hitch. With a few months of recovery and physical therapy sessions, Gerry recovered nicely and now has very good use of his entire hand and wrist with little to no scarring. He says, “I fully attribute the success and rapid recovery to the pristine and professional level of physician expertise and extreme level of quality and interest in patient care, comfort and convenience from start to finish!”
The bottom line
While there are plenty of patients who visit us with textbook carpal tunnel symptoms and don’t need surgery to get themselves back to living life and enjoying their hobbies, the ones who do need surgery are just as better off. Some people may not want to consider having surgery, but the techniques used today promote faster healing and are oftentimes the best solution for chronic carpal tunnel syndrome pain.
Your carpal tunnel syndrome pain may go away with old-fashioned rest, but here are additional carpal tunnel treatment options:
Disclosure: This information is not a substitute for professional medical advice. Prior to starting any new treatment or if you have questions regarding a medical condition, always seek the advice of your doctor or other qualified health provider. 50Plus-Today seeks to share opinions from a wide variety of professionals in an unbiased manner: it is the responsibility of the consumer to educate themselves and make their own health care decisions.
ABOUT THE AUTHORS
Dr. Eric Wroton, Dr. Ryan Reardon, and Dr. Bryan Reyes are top orthopedic surgeons at Fort Worth Hand Center. From the fingertips to the elbow, these physicians treat everything from sports injuries and joint replacement to chronic conditions, age-related complications, degenerative diseases, and trauma. Whether the hand, finger, wrist or elbow condition requires traditional surgery or non-surgical techniques, these expert doctors will thoroughly explain all your options and get you back to your favorite life activities.
Fort Worth Hand Center has served the North Texas area for over 45 years, making them Fort Worth’s most experienced hand surgeon practice. The team is comprised of a dedicated staff whose mission is to provide prompt, courteous, and compassionate care to valued patients. Their patient-centered approach gives every individual a pleasant experience with each visit, while providing the expert care patients deserve. This is evident in their 5-star reviews.
To schedule an appointment or for more information, call 817-839-3023 or visit FortWorthHandCenter.com.