Carpal tunnel syndrome can cause hand and wrist pains
Carpal tunnel syndrome or median nerve neuropathy at the wrist is a medical problem characterized by the compression of a nerve particularly important for hand, the median nerve. The pain, anesthesia and muscle’ weakness in the hand and wrist are the characteristic’ features.
Symptoms that alert the patient are:
• numbness (paresthesia) of the affected hand;
• hand and wrist pain, especially at night;
• in advanced stages occurs anesthesia within the median nerve (patient does not feel touching at the level of thumb, middle and forefinger);
• intermittent locking of the fingers (thumb, forefinger and middle);
• muscle atrophy of thumb and loss strength in the hand.
• may experience pain in the elbow and the shoulder (which leads to confusion with rheumatic pains).
The diagnosis is decided by the plastic surgeon, orthopedist or neurologist after clinical examination, based on symptoms and, mandatory, on a neurological examination (electromyography).
Treatment is surgical but is simple, painless, with a small incision in the wrist: carpal tunnel decompression is done; the affected nerve flexor tendons that bend your fingers are released. Require local or general anesthesia.
Immediately after surgery the patient does not feel the terrible pain and other unpleasant symptoms.
Healing impose immobilization in plaster splint for 7 days, followed by immobilization at night for 3 weeks. The exercises to recover the hand mobility should be done for 3-4 weeks.
Treatment results in a complete cure if diagnosis was made on time (before the appearance of complications of chronic pain of the entire arm, including shoulder).
Dr. Maria Filipescu