Carpal Tunnel

What is Carpal Tunnel?

Carpal Tunnel Syndrome is a condition where pressure is applied to a nerve located in the wrist. This can cause a tingling sensation as well as numbness and pain in the hand as well as the fingers. While this can be treated at home, it can often require medical treatment in order to reduce the pain and solve the issue.

Diagnosing Carpal Tunnel

In most cases, diagnosing carpal tunnel syndrome is fairly simple. Your doctor will ask you about your symptoms and will carry out a physical examination of the hand. If they are unsure you might be referred for tests such as an ultrasound scan or an MRI scan.

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Treating Carpal Tunnel

There are several different types of treatment that can be used to treat carpal tunnel syndrome. To begin with, your doctor might recommend for you to wear a splint to prevent movement and strain, giving the problem time to correct itself. However, if this has not helped then a steroid injection might be required to reduce the swelling and ease the symptoms. A steroid injection might work in the short-term but it is not a cure and so, you might need further injections. If the problem still persists then your specialist might recommend surgery to cure the problem.

Surgery is carried out as day surgery and a small injection will numb the wrist before a small incision is made in the hand. The carpal tunnel is then cut so that the pressure on the nerve is relieved. The operation takes around 30 minutes and you will be able to go home the same day. It can take around a month before you are able to return to normal activities.

Managing Carpal Tunnel

You can choose to wear a wrist splint which can help to keep the wrist straight and relieve all pressure on it. However, it is also advised that you cut down on activities that can cause the problem to flare-up or worsen. Painkillers such as paracetamol and ibuprofen can be used to help ease the pain as a short term solution.

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Carpal Tunnel FAQs

Q: What causes carpal tunnel?

Carpal tunnel syndrome develops when the carpal tunnel inside your wrist inflames and puts pressure on your median nerve, resulting in pain. You are more at risk of developing carpal tunnel if you are pregnant, overweight, or have other underlying health conditions such as diabetes or arthritis. You can also develop carpal tunnel if you have previously injured your wrist. Your work, hobbies or sports involve repeatedly bending your wrist, using vibrating tools, or using a firm hand grip, such as weight lifting, tennis etc.

Q: What does carpal tunnel feel like?

The symptoms of carpal tunnel are pretty easy to recognise. The symptoms are confined to the hand or fingers in most cases, but some patients report that symptoms can radiate from the hand down the forearm. Symptoms include the feeling of numbness, pain, tingling, soreness, itching, burning, and general muscle weakness. Symptoms are usually felt most strongly in the thumb.

Q: How long does carpal tunnel last?

Carpal tunnel is a progressive condition that tends to get worse over time. You may start to feel symptoms while trying to sleep. Your hand can feel numb, and you will want to shake the numbness off. After a time, your symptoms will start to linger throughout the day. You may begin to experience shooting pains when using your hands to grip things and open bottles and jars. Tying shoelaces and buttoning up a shirt can become more challenging. If left untreated, carpal tunnel symptoms can increase in intensity until the pain and numbness in your hand and wrist can become excruciating.

Q: How to relieve carpal tunnel pain?

There are different treatment approaches you can use to relieve your condition. It can be helpful to wear a support splint on your hand and wrist to reduce movement and strain on your wrist. Dr Bhadauria can also administer a steroid injection to reduce the inflammation and ease the symptoms. These injections can give short-term relief but are not a cure. A more permanent solution is to have a minor surgical procedure to cut the carpal tunnel to relieve the pressure on the nerve. The procedure is carried out as day surgery and takes around 30 minutes. You can go home the same day.

Q: How to prevent carpal tunnel?

You can help prevent developing carpal tunnel by using a softer touch. Use more soft keystrokes rather than pound the keyboard with your fingers. Use a firm grip with power tools and utensils rather than gripping too tightly. Take regular breaks throughout the day to stretch your hands and finger and give your hands a rest. Try to keep your wrists relaxed and in a neutral position while working to keep the pressure off your median nerve.


If you would like to find out more about the treatments that Dr. Naveen Bhadauria offers or have any questions please get in touch with his PA using the link below.