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Carpal Tunnel Syndrome - the Symptoms, the Treatments and the effects of Surgery

Jun 19, 2014

Carpal Tunnel Syndrome - the Symptoms, the Treatments and the effects of Surgery

Carpal Tunnel Syndrome (CTS) affects about three in every 100 men and five in every 100 women, at some time in their lifetime. One in four people with CTS also has a close relative who suffers or has suffered from the condition.


CTS can be a debilitating condition but will in some cases regress without treatment. For some, simple self-care measures will reduce symptoms while others need to wear wrist splints or take corticosteroid injections. For more severe cases, surgery is recommended to reduce the pressure on the median nerve.


CTS is a relatively common complaint caused by the compression of the nerve that controls sensation and movement in some of the fingers  -- classically the thumb, index, middle and part of the ring fingers (median nerve). Patients suffering from CTS will experience pins and needles as early signs of th


e condition followed by pain in the fingers; usually the index and middle fingers and this may travel up the forear

m and even to the shoulder. Numbness, skin dryness and weakness of some muscles in the fingers and or the thumb can occur in severe cases. Symptoms can also be nocturnal (at night) disturbing their sleep.


Although the causes of CTS are not clear, it is thought that it is a result of minor changes in the te

ndons or other structures going through the carpal tunnel. Age appears to be a significant factor, as well as bone or arthritic conditions of the wrist, such as rheumatoid arthritis or osteoarthritis; even a previous wrist fracture may be implicated.

A family history of CTS in pregnancy, strenuous, or repetitive work with the hand and other health conditions such as obesity, thyroid disease and diabetes are also commonly reported associated factors.


Surgery for CTS is usually only recommended when other treatments have not been effective, or if it is very severe on presentation. The surgery is undertaken on an outpatient basis, and patients should experience instant relief, through decompression or release of the carpal tunnel. Although some recovery period is required, depending on which hand is operated on and the job a patient does, most people return to work within a few weeks of surgery.


In a survey of some 6,000 NHS carpal tunnel operations, 50% thought that the surgery had been completely successful, and a further 25% felt their symptoms were greatly improved.


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Category: Medical Treatment