Health Matters: Treating Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

Many people suffer from carpal tunnel syndrome.

We use our hands all of the time.

If you feel pain in your hands or wrist often, then even doing everyday things can be uncomfortable.

That pain can get worse if you ignore it.

If you have carpal tunnel, you know these wrist pains all too well.

“You can have a lot of pain and tingle and numbness,” said Dr. Doug Forgit with Essentia Health. “There’s general discomfort related to it, but it can lead to some weakness. People can start dropping things.”

That pain is caused by inflammation.

“There’s a ligament that runs between the bones in the wrist right here, and there’s this little space underneath that, where the nerve goes down into the hand and so if you get any inflammation in that area, there’s really no room for it to expand,” Dr. Forgit said.

It’s something that can happen to anyone but it’s more common in middle aged people and pregnant women.

“It hasn’t been shown that necessarily that a lot of computer work is a direct correlation to this,” said Dr. Forgit. “So you could do all of these things and still get it or you could have terrible posture and never get it so.”

To prevent the symptoms from getting worse, it’s recommended to see your doctor when you first start to notice the pain.

“First, we will put people in a wrist splint to kind of hold their wrist in,” explained Dr. Forgit. “We do that at night. A lot of people sleep with their hands curled up at night and that can be one of the classic symptoms…night time symptoms waking you up.”

If the brace doesn’t help, there are options to inject steroids or get surgery that would increase room in the ligament.

It’s a syndrome doctors say you want to act on.

“People whose disease progresses, once in awhile you see someone who has more pain in their arm. But after evaluating, you realize it’s more likely coming from the carpal tunnel…it’s just progressed far enough where you notice it further up the arm.”

The nighttime symptoms of carpel tunnel usually come first.

If you start to feel the pain more and more throughout the day, that’s a good sign you should take control of it.