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.
Endoscopic Carpal Tunnel Release
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 Can Carpal Tunnel Interfere With Your Daily Life?
For some patients, Carpal Tunnel Syndrome starts off as more of a nuisance than a problem. The tingling and discomfort in the fingers and thumb might start off rather intermittently and be easy to ignore. But the longer Carpal Tunnel Syndrome goes untreated, the higher the chances that your symptoms could become more pronounced, more severe, and more impactful.
Carpal Tunnel Syndrome, left unchecked, could begin to affect your life in several tangible ways:
- Simple and ordinary tasks, such as typing an email, could become quite uncomfortable.
- You may experience acute escalations of pain and discomfort in your hand and wrist.
- You may experience loss of sensation in your hand.
- You may find it difficult to perform work-related tasks (depending on your occupation).
- You may experience a loss in coordination between your fingers, thumb, and hand.
- You may experience a loss of grip strength, making it more difficult to hold on to objects or perform tasks around the house (such as opening jars or bottles).
If left untreated, Carpal Tunnel can make the completion of certain tasks both difficult and painful. That’s why it’s important to seek medical attention if you are experiencing Carpal Tunnel Syndrome symptoms. When those symptoms become pronounced enough, daily tasks may become difficult to perform, and your quality of life may begin to suffer.
Patient Experiences Vary
It’s important to note that not all patients will experience the same Carpal Tunnel Syndrome symptoms. And you do not have to experience all symptoms in order to be coping with Carpal Tunnel. Human bodies tend to experience these ailments in a variety of different ways.
Therefore, your experience may vary. If you suspect you are suffering from Carpal Tunnel Syndrome, contact the Clear Lake Hand Center, just outside of Houston, to schedule a consultation. Additionally, you may be referred to Clear Lake Hand Center by another physician.
Advantages of Carpal Tunnel Treatment
Carpal Tunnel Syndrome can be treated in a number of ways, depending on the severity and intensity of the symptoms. In some cases, individuals will be able to effectively treat Carpal Tunnel with rest and behavior changes. In other cases, surgery will be required to find relief from symptoms.
For most patients, treatment will deliver significant improvements in the condition of their Carpal Tunnel Syndrome symptoms. Patients may experience:
- An increase in sensation in the hand, thumb, and fingers.
- Diminishing pain in the hand, wrist, and fingers.
- An increased level of endurance (that said, repetitive tasks should be approved by your hand surgeon).
- Improved grip strength.
- Improved flexibility and dexterity.
Of course, the primary benefit of treating Carpal Tunnel Syndrome is usually to relieve acute symptoms and discomfort. In many cases, treatment will have lingering benefits that go beyond a simple decrease in overall discomfort.
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.
Dr. Polsen’s Experience Treating Carpal Tunnel
Hand surgery is technically a specialized form reconstructive plastic surgery. Dr. Charles Polsen is a Board Certified Plastic Surgeon, meaning he has achieved at a demonstrably high level of ethical and technical skill. Certification from the American Board of Plastic Surgery can be quite challenging to achieve, but it offers patients assurances that they will receive highly skilled and experienced care.
Dr. Polsen has specialized in hand surgery as far back as his residency at Hermann Memorial Hospital in Houston. He has since trained extensively in microsurgery for the hand, and even published articles about the anatomy of the hand–especially those areas that affect the treatment of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome (that particular article is published in HAND Journal, the official journal of the American Association of Hand Surgery).
If you want to know more about Dr. Polsen’s qualifications, or how he can help treat your Carpal Tunnel Syndrome symptoms, contact Clear Lake Hand Center to schedule a consultation with Dr. Polsen.