Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
Warning Signs & Symptoms
Carpal tunnel syndrome starts gradually with a slight aching in the wrist that can extend to the hand and forearm. Other symptoms include tingling or numbness in the finger or hands, pain radiating from the wrist up to the arm or shoulder, difficulty grasping objects, weakness that may cause patients to drop things and a constant loss of feeling in some fingers.
Patients can treat carpal tunnel syndrome with a variety of procedures, including endoscopic carpel tunnel release surgery.
Though there are no proven methods to prevent carpal tunnel syndrome, patients can protect themselves a variety of ways:
- Relax your grip. Many people use more force than needed when performing tasks. Hit keyboard keys softly and use pens with a soft grip.
- Take frequent breaks, about every 15 to 20 minutes, to give wrists a break. Gently bend and stretch them and alternate tasks.
- Keep warm. Hand pain and stiffness is more prevalent in a cold environment.
- Improve posture. Bad posture can cause shoulders to roll forward, compressing nerves in the neck, which affects the wrists, shoulders and hands.
The doctor may want patients to wear a splint the first few weeks following surgery and to avoid lifting anything heavier than 10 pounds. Finger and wrist exercises typically begin immediately after surgery, to help prevent the nerves, tendons and supporting tissue from getting stuck in one position. Patients may also be instructed to begin carefully using their hand for daily activities as soon as possible.