Repetitive Motions of the Hands
Whether typing, chopping, driving, or painting, modern living requires constant and sometimes repetitive movements of the hands. This repetitive movement, however, can sometimes come with an added cost: Carpal Tunnel Syndrome. Dr. Charles Polsen and the team at Clear Lake Hand Center have a great deal of experience treating Carpal Tunnel in the Houston area, and as such, have a well earned reputation for helping patients treat this common hand ailment.
Carpal Tunnel Syndrome can present in many different ways, but the symptoms are often described by patients as feeling a “tingling or numbness sensation that sometimes makes their fingers feel asleep.” In addition to this, patients can experience varying amounts of pain in the hand, which is often troublesome at night when they go to bed. Certain remedies such as splinting, resting the hand, and anti-inflammatory medication can provide temporary relief.
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Carpal tunnel syndrome is a serious condition that implies compression to one of the main nerves innervating the hand. If one does in fact have carpal tunnel syndrome, and ignores the symptoms or simply tries to live with them, this compression can lead to permanent nerve damage, and even following the appropriate surgery this nerve damage may prove to be irreversible and the patient may not regain normal function of the hand. For these reasons, when one is experiencing any of these symptoms it is important to be evaluated sooner rather than later.
Many people ask what caused their carpal tunnel. There is an association between repetitive movements in the hand that can lead to an increased incidence of pain and discomfort in the wrist, hand, and fingers. Often it is during these very activities that the patients reproduce the symptoms they are experiencing. Common activities such as keyboard use, carpentry, or physical work requiring use of the hands has also been described.
What Are The Symptoms of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome?
Carpal Tunnel Syndrome has some widely recognized symptoms, as well as some symptoms which are more easily ignored, often to detriment of the patient. That said, Carpal Tunnel is something that must be diagnosed by a medical professional. If you have any of the following symptoms, make an appointment with a highly qualified hand surgeon to determine the cause of the symptoms:
- Tingling in your hand
- Numbness of the hand
- Pain in the wrist area of your hand
- Weakness in the hand
- Persistent pain
Carpal Tunnel Syndrome is treatable in most cases. However, the treatment will depend on the severity of the symptoms. Getting attention early is a good way to keep symptoms under control. Because Carpal Tunnel is so closely associated with repetitive motion, if you have an occupation or hobby that requires repetitive movements of the hand and have any of these symptoms, you should consult with a doctor right away.
How is Carpal Tunnel Syndrome Treated?
In some cases, Carpal Tunnel pain can be treated by the administration of anti-inflammatory medication and a cessation of the repetitive movements. This gives the nerve in the hand some time to heal. Eventually, normal activity can be resumed again (though the repetitive movements must be mitigated in some manner). However, in cases where the damage is more extensive, surgery may be the best option.
If you are diagnosed with Carpal Tunnel related pain, and indeed are experiencing compression of the nerve to your hand, then the appropriate surgery designed to relieve that pressure should be performed. In the past this was done most often through an “open” approach, which involved a relatively long incision in the palm of the hand that often at times was both tender during recovery and led to a longer recovery period. Dr. Polsen most often performs the carpal tunnel surgery through an endoscopic approach, which not only requires much smaller incision, but allows these incisions to be at a less tender location, contributing to a quicker recovery.
If you suspect you have Carpal Tunnel symptoms, it is important to seek treatment as soon as possible. Dr. Charles Polsen has a great deal of experience treating patients of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome in Houston and in Clear Lake, TX. Contact Clear Lake Hand Center to set up a consultation and begin the process of treating your wrist or hand pain.