The carpal tunnel is a narrow passageway of ligaments and bones at the base of the hand that houses the median nerve, which runs from the forearm to the palm of the hand.
When swelling or irritation causes the tunnel to become too narrow, it’s called carpal tunnel syndrome.
Symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome are numbness, tingling and weakness in the hand.
Though the condition is becoming increasingly common, treating carpal tunnel syndrome in Marietta is relatively straightforward.
Carpal tunnel syndrome can be caused by many things, repetitive hand motions, vibrating power tools, obesity, pregnancy and arthritis are a few of the more common causes.
Alcohol abuse, wrist cysts or tumors, certain infections and edema (water retention) can also cause carpal tunnel issues.
Because the carpal tunnel tends to smaller in women than in men, they are three time more likely to develop carpal tunnel syndrome. Carpal tunnel issues are typically only found in adults, but there have been cases of carpal tunnel syndrome being present at birth.
There are several methods used to diagnose carpal tunnel syndrome, from Tinel and Phalen (or wrist-flexion) tests to electrodiagnostic tests. X-rays are used to eliminate the possibility of another cause, such as a fracture or sprain, and ultrasound imaging can be used to gauge the degree of inflammation once a patient has been diagnosed.
Anti-inflammatory drugs and corticosteroids can be used to reduce swelling and pain, and diuretics can be used to reduce pressure on the carpal tunnel caused by edema. A wrist splint will help restricts movement and offer support while you sleep.
Stretching and strengthening exercises are also often helpful, especially when aided by an occupational therapist. If none of these options work, surgery may be needed.
As a last resort, surgery can be done to relieve the pressure on the median nerve. This is usually done when the risk of nerve damage outweighs the risk of post-surgery scarring.
There are two types of carpal tunnel surgery: open and endoscopic. Endoscopic surgery uses a tiny camera in the wrist to guide the doctor through the procedure, which leaves minimal scarring and residual damage. Open surgery has the most potential for scarring, but is also the less expensive option.
The best methods of prevention are to stay in good health through exercise and diet, take frequent breaks and protect your wrists at work and at home. Restrict your salt intake if you seem to be retaining water.
After-care is fairly straightforward, but may take months. Your Chiropractor will likely prescribe physical therapy to ensure that the wrist retains flexibility during the healing process.