Carpal Tunnel Syndrome FAQs

Carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS) is a result of median nerve compression in the wrist. The nerve passes through the carpal tunnel between the carpal bones, hence the name carpal tunnel syndrome.

This pesky condition can make simple actions difficult. People may experience pain, numbness, weakness, and tingling in the affected hand and wrist.

Below are some of the most frequently asked questions about carpal tunnel syndrome.

Picture demonstrating nerves in hand and carpal tunnel syndrome

What happens if carpal tunnel syndrome is not treated?

Median nerve compression needs to be treated. If left untreated, the condition worsens significantly and permanent nerve damage may result. This leads to chronic pain and impaired movement and functionality in the hand muscles.

In severe cases when treatment hasn’t been carried out, surgery may be needed to relieve the nerve compression.

What does carpal tunnel pain feel like?

Pain levels depend on the severity of the condition. In mild cases, a feeling of pins and needles is common. So is a feeling of numbness in the thumb. As carpal tunnel syndrome progresses, the pain level rises.

In other cases, a feeling of shock or shocks travelling from the wrist and through the hand may be present.

Can carpal tunnel go away on its own?

Carpal tunnel syndrome sometimes goes away without treatment. However, this is the exception to the norm. Your doctor will advise which treatment plan is best. Some treatments can be carried out at home.

Can I treat carpal tunnel at home?

It depends on the severity of the condition. If your doctor advises home treatments, this will usually entail stretches for the median nerve and anti-inflammatory medication.

Icing the affected hand and wrist for 10 minutes at a time may also help to relive the symptoms. Many people find that nights are the worst time for their carpal tunnel syndrome. Gently shaking and stretching the hand and wrist may help at these times.

Wearing a brace can help too. Your doctor will let you know if this is recommended for you.

How long does carpal tunnel syndrome usually last?

Symptoms may be present for a few months or even a year. It is wise to seek help and advice for carpal tunnel before the condition starts affecting your ability to carry out tasks or even do your job.

If surgery is needed, you can expect that your grip strength and full range of motion will be back after a period of three to five months.

What causes carpal tunnel syndrome?

It’s hard to pinpoint an exact single cause. In fact, there may be several contributing factors including a hereditary link. Other possible links and risk factors include but are not limited to:

  • Pregnancy and resultant fluid retention
  • High blood pressure
  • Thyroid disfunction or disease
  • Rheumatoid arthritis
  • Autoimmune diseases
  • Diabetes
  • Overuse of a hand or wrist. Note that CTS is different to repetitive strain disorder.

Here at Fairview Adult Day Care Center in Brooklyn, we provide a full range of rehabilitation therapies. These therapies include physical therapy which our clients suffering from carpal tunnel syndrome say is particularly helpful.