Carpal tunnel syndrome is numbness, tingling, weakness or pain in your fingers and hands caused by pressure on the median nerve in your wrist. In New Orleans carpal tunnel syndrome affects many people, especially those who work on a computer for extended periods of time.
What causes carpal tunnel syndrome?
Pressure on the median nerve causes carpal tunnel syndrome and it can come from swelling or anything that makes the carpal tunnel decrease in size, such as:
- Illnesses such as hypothyroidism, rheumatoid arthritis, and diabetes;
- Repeatedly making the same hand movements, especially if the wrist is bent down;
What are the symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome in New Orleans?
In addition to tingling, numbness, weakness, or pain in the fingers or hand, some people may experience pain in their arm between their hand and their elbow. Symptoms most often occur in the thumb, index finger, middle finger, and half of the ring finger.
If you have problems with your other fingers but your little finger is fine, this may be a sign that you have carpal tunnel syndrome, because a different nerve gives feeling to the little finger. You may first notice symptoms at night and might be able to find relief by shaking your hand.
How is carpal tunnel syndrome diagnosed?
When diagnosing carpal tunnel syndrome your doctor or New Orleans orthopedic surgeon will ask if you have any health problems such as arthritis, hypothyroidism, or diabetes or if you are pregnant. He or she will ask if you recently hurt your wrist, arm, or neck and will want to know about your daily routine.
During the exam, your orthopedic surgeon will check the feeling, strength, and appearance of your neck, shoulders, arms, wrists, and hands. Your doctor may suggest tests, such as blood tests or nerve tests.
How is carpal tunnel syndrome in New Orleans treated?
Mild symptoms usually can be treated with home care by doing the following:
- Stop activities that cause numbness and pain and rest your wrist longer between activities;
- Ice your wrist for 10 to 15 minutes 1 or 2 times an hour;
- Try taking non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) to relieve pain and reduce swelling;
- Wear a wrist splint at night to take pressure off your median nerve.
The sooner you start treatment, the better your chances of stopping symptoms and preventing long-term damage to the nerve. You also may need medicine or even surgery in some cases, but only when symptoms are so bad that you can’t work or do other things even after several weeks to months of other treatment.
How can you keep carpal tunnel syndrome from coming back?
To keep carpal tunnel syndrome from coming back, take care of your basic health. Stay at a healthy weight. Don’t smoke. Exercise to stay strong and flexible. If you have a long-term health problem, such as arthritis or diabetes, follow your doctor’s advice for keeping your condition under control.
You can also take good care of your wrists and hands by:
- Trying to keep your wrist in a neutral position;
- Using your whole hand, not just your fingers-to hold objects;
- Keeping your wrists straight when typing, with your hands a little higher than your wrists;
- Relaxing your shoulders when your arms are at your sides;
- Switching hands often when you repeat movements.
If you feel that you may be suffering from carpal tunnel syndrome, New Orleans residents trust the expert care provided by Dr. Richard Meyer. Call our office today to schedule an appointment and let’s get you pain-free!