Imagine sitting at a desk from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. and experiencing pain, tingling or numbness in your hands and fingers. Being uncomfortable at work is annoying, and being in pain might make it hard or impossible to perform everyday tasks such as typing or filing. Over time, if these symptoms worsen, you should see a doctor because you very well might have carpal tunnel syndrome and should seek carpal tunnel treatment.
What Is The Carpal Tunnel?
The carpal tunnel is a narrow passageway of ligament and bones at the hands base that contains the median nerve and tendons. When the median nerve is compressed pain, numbness, tingling or weakness in the fingers, hand, wrist and arm may result.
Generally, people with carpal tunnel aren’t initially in excruciating pain. In fact, symptoms such as waking up in the night to shake out or move the hands around and slight tingling usually occur first. Also, both hands do not have to be experiencing symptoms at the same time.
When to go to the Doctor
If over a span of a few weeks you find your symptoms are not going away, then you should make an appointment with your family doctor or an occupational medicine specialist. This doctor will check out your overall health and carpal tunnel symptoms, and if he or she deems it necessary, they will refer you to a specialist for further testing.
Symptoms to note and be especially aware of are:
- Diminished use of your fingers or hands
- Laborious or painful to grasp objects
- Can’t perform your normal day-to-day tasks
- Kept awake at night by pain or numbness
Carpal Tunnel Treatment Options
Treatment for Carpal Tunnel symptoms depends on why a patient developed the syndrome in the first place. Generally, keeping the affected hand and wrist rested for a few weeks is the first step in any treatment, though. This means that anything that exacerbates your pain or makes your symptoms flare up should be avoided, which can include tasks that are preformed at work. This is why it is important to see a doctor and get a doctor’s note to show your employer.
Other treatment options include acupuncture, chiropractic care, hand splints, yoga and in extreme cases surgery might be considered. Before embarking on any treatment plan, be sure to contact a doctor, though.