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Patient Education:
Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

Understanding Carpal Tunnel Syndrome - Top Patient Questions

While it’s an increasingly common condition, not many are familiar with what exactly carpal tunnel syndrome entails.  Caused by pressure on the wrist’s median nerve, this condition most commonly affects people whose wrists and hands are subject to constant, repetitive motions – like carpenters, assembly line workers, and more. The median nerve runs from the forearm into the palm of the hand and controls sensations and movement in the thumb and first three fingers, the area most affected by carpal tunnel syndrome.  If you’re ready to learn more about this condition, keep reading to find out answers to some of the most commonly asked questions.

Top Patient Questions about Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

  1. What are the symptoms?
    Symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome typically include pain, tingling, and numbness in the hand or wrist, generally in the area where the median nerve runs.  Patients also report increases in pain at night and with increased use of the hand, in addition to weakness in the affected area.
  2. What causes it?
    While carpal tunnel syndrome is usually brought about by constant and repetitive motions of the wrist and hand, there are other factors that contribute to their onset.  Some common causes include smoking, certain illnesses, pregnancy, and obesity.
  3. How is this condition diagnosed?
    If you’re experiencing any symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome, a physical exam can help your doctor identify it.  After learning more about your medical history, blood or nerve testing may be done to help reach a diagnosis.
  4. What are the treatment options?
    Treatment of carpal tunnel syndrome typically depends on the severity of the case.  If symptoms are mild, it can usually be treated with home remedies, like ice, anti-inflammatory medications, and the use of a wrist splint.  More serious cases may require surgery, so make sure to tell your doctor if your symptoms are becoming more severe.
  5. Is it preventable?
    For those worried about their risk, there are some steps that can be taken to lower your risk for developing carpal tunnel syndrome.  Exercise, maintaining a healthy weight, and not smoking can all help to reduce your risk, and frequent breaks from wrist-heavy activity may prove effective.  It can also be helpful to try and keep your wrists in a neutral position, and switch hands whenever possible.

Orthopedic Surgeons in Hackensack, Emerson, Elmwood Park and Montclair

For more information, contact Active Orthopedics and Sports Medicine with offices throughout Bergen and Essex Counties to schedule an appointment today. We can be reached at 1-844-ACTIVE-ORTHO for 24-hour emergency care.