Many jobs require repetitive motions—such as typing, knitting, working with computers and tools, and playing musical instruments. Working with these activities puts extra strain on their wrists and elbows, which may lead to carpal tunnel syndrome.
It is a condition that affects the median nerve in the wrist caused due to swelling of the ligament that connects the wrist bones to the hand. Hand surgeon Dallas, TX, call it a lifestyle disease caused due to the various occupations which depend on using hands.
Symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome
The symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome vary depending on the severity of the condition. Common symptoms include:
- Numbness and tingling in the thumb and fingers.
- Feeling weak in the hand, wrist, and forearm.
- Difficulty gripping small objects.
Treatment options for carpal tunnel.
The treatment options depend on the disease’s severity, the patient’s age, and lifestyle factors. If symptoms are mild, patients may choose to take medications or wear splints to relieve pressure on the nerves. In more severe cases, a hand surgeon in Dallas, TX, may recommend surgery to release the pressure on the median nerve.
What is carpal tunnel surgery?
Carpal tunnel surgery (CTS) is a surgical procedure to treat pain caused by compression of the median nerve at the wrist. There are two types of surgeries for CTS: open surgery and endoscopic surgery.
- Open CTS
Open carpal tunnel surgery is performed when the median nerve is cut and repaired directly. The CTS procedure is performed under general anesthesia.
- Endoscopic CTS
Endoscopic carpal tunnel surgery is similar to open carpal tunnel surgery except that instead of making a full-length incision, the surgeon uses a tiny camera attached to a long tube called an endoscope. The endoscope is inserted through a small incision near the wrist. It is guided under the skin to where the median nerve passes through the carpal canal.
- Post-surgery care.
Most patients recover fully following surgery. However, recovery time varies depending on the severity of the injury. The first few days after surgery are critical in determining how well your hand recovers. Before leaving the hospital, you should have no pain, swelling, or numbness.
Doctors may prescribe splints to keep your wrist straight and immobilize your fingers. After the initial healing period, you can begin exercising your hands again. After surgery, patients should avoid activities that put pressure on their wrists until they heal completely.
What is occupational therapy?
Patients who have had surgery need occupational therapy in Dallas, TX, and rehabilitation to regain their range of motion and strength. These services focus on regaining lost skills and motor control. After carpal tunnel surgery, occupational therapists often recommend home exercise programs to prevent further injury to the wrist.
In addition to strengthening the hand muscles, they also have several tips to keep the pain away and prevent re-injury. Occupational therapists evaluate patients’ abilities to perform activities of daily living, identify potential environmental hazards, and develop individualized home modifications to reduce risk factors.
- Wrist support
Orthotic braces are specially designed to hold the joint together while providing full movement at the wrist and fingers.
- Hand exercises
Exercising your hands for a few minutes is suggestion to improve circulation and strengthen the hand muscles.
- Cold compress
A cold compress helps reduce swelling in the wrist and provides relief from pain and discomfort.
Splinting is a protective device worn over the operated area to immobilize the joints during recovery.
- Heat or ice packs
Heat packs are applied directly over the wound to relieve pain and promote healing. Ice packs cool down the skin and decrease inflammation.
Occupational therapy in Dallas, TX, aims to maximize the patient’s independence and quality of life and provide postoperative rehabilitation services at North Texas Hand Center to get you back to normalcy.