Carpal Tunnel Syndrome – FAQ
By Julia Guthart CHT/OT
Carpal Tunnel Syndrome FAQ
What is carpal tunnel syndrome? If I have numbness and tingling in my fingers, do I have Carpal Tunnel Syndrome?
The most common symptom is that the hand “falls asleep” at night while sleeping. Tingling or numbness in thumb and index and long fingers is also a common complaint. Less common symptom are pain in palm and wrist but no injury to cause the pain. Also, another common symptom is that you may be dropping objects and bumping yourself or burning your fingers due to loss of sensation.
What can I done to treat it?
Home remedies include taking over the counter anti-inflammatories like ibuprofen and naproxen according to package dosage. If after a week or two of regular ingestion of either of these (NEVER BOTH AT THE SAME TIME) without relief, it is recommended that you consult your physician.
Are there any braces that will help?
Also, wearing a wrist support splint that keeps your wrist from bending can relieve symptoms. These splints can be purchased at discount stores, pharmacies, grocery stores, or online. They resemble a “bowling splint”.
When should I seek help?
Sometimes these symptoms are transient meaning that they come and go; sometimes these symptoms become chronic meaning never have gone away. If you experience symptoms for more than 3 weeks, and you have tried some of the home remedies and continue to experience the numbness and tingling, you should seek medical evaluation.
Can something else be wrong if I have tingling in the hand?
Other diseases can cause numbness and tingling in the extremities and need to be ruled out by your physician.
Will I need to have surgery?
Specialized hand therapy is helpful after a Carpal Tunnel release surgery has been performed. Prior to surgery, an Occupational Therapist or Certified Hand Therapist can be very helpful with acquiring the correct splint and teaching stretching exercises. At present, an exercise program alone cannot prevent or cure Carpal Tunnel Syndrome.