Where is my carpal tunnel located?
Turn your hand so it’s facing you and bend your wrist. Your hand will come toward you. Your carpal tunnel is found in the area where your wrist bends.
What exactly is carpal tunnel syndrome?
Simply put, it’s a pinched nerve. Carpal tunnel syndrome happens when something causes swelling in this area and the swelling puts pressure the median nerve that travels through your wrist.
Why does carpal tunnel syndrome happen?
We don’t always know exactly why it happens. Many times it can be a combination of reasons. Research tells us you are more likely to get carpal tunnel syndrome if you:
- Are pregnant (from fluid retention)
- Had a wrist dislocation or fracture
- Have arthritis
- Have a thyroid condition
- Have diabetes
What are common symptoms?
Symptoms can vary from person to person. Common symptoms include:
- Weakness in the arm, hand, and fingers
Early on, symptoms are gradual and inconsistent. They may become worse depending on what you are doing and go away when those activities end. You may experience symptoms more at night. In advanced cases, symptoms can be nearly constant and very bothersome.
What are my treatment options?
Once it’s confirmed you have carpal tunnel syndrome, your doctor will explain all the treatment options that will be most successful for your unique situation. Together, you and your doctor will create an individualized treatment plan for your specific needs. The good news is that symptoms may often be relieved without surgery.
Your custom treatment plan may include:
- Anti-inflammatory medications
- Physical therapy
- Cortisone injections to reduce swelling
What can I expect the results to be after treatment?
Everyone responds to treatment differently. The primary focus is to reduce swelling in the wrist around the nerve and decrease the pressure placed on it. The goal of treatment is to decrease or eliminate your symptoms and get your function back.
How long until I’m better?
There is a broad range of severity of this condition and recovery time varies. Talk to your doctor about what you can expect with your specific situation. When surgery is recommended, it usually takes several months to get your strength back to normal.
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