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The Real Cause of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

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It has been common knowledge that carpal tunnel syndrome is caused by excessive typing, right? Actually, that may not be true.

Carpal tunnel syndrome is a condition that occurs because of increased pressure on one of the nerves in the wrist and hand. For patients with carpal tunnel, this nerve is compressed as it passes through the wrist.

Due to this compression, the nerve doesn’t function properly. Some main symptoms of the syndrome include numbness and tingling in the hand, weakness in some of the muscles in the hand, and pain in the hand and wrist. Many patients with carpal tunnel say that these symptoms are more pronounced at night, and often complain about the lack of sleep they’re getting.

For patients with mild or moderate carpal tunnel syndrome, treatment usually starts off conservatively (see treatment options below).  However, if symptoms are still present even after some a conservative treatment,  then surgery may be considered.

Dr. Kevin Lutsky is a hand surgeon with The Rothman Institute.  He talks with Robin Stoloff.

Anti-inflammatory medications


The purpose behind prescribing anti-inflammatory medications, such as Motrin or Advil, is to decrease inflammation in the carpal tunnel and therefore help decrease the pressure on the nerve.


Wrist splints


Wrist splints are designed in order to help hold your wrist in a neutral position. The nerve is the least compressed in this position, since the carpal tunnel is at its widest diameter.


Cortisone Injections


The cortisone injection is applied directly to the area where your hand or wrist is in the most pain, in order to help decrease the inflammation surrounding the nerve.The cortisone injection can be effective because the medication is applied to the direct area of the problem. Cortisone injections should be used sparingly because repeated injections can cause harm due to the side effects of this medication. Usually, no more than 2 or 3 medications are given.


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