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Causes and Risk Factors

Several factors can contribute to the development of carpal tunnel syndrome:

  • Repetitive Hand Movements: Activities that involve repetitive motions of the wrist, such as typing, assembly line work, or using vibrating tools, can increase the risk of developing carpal tunnel syndrome.
  • Anatomical Factors: Some people have a naturally smaller carpal tunnel, which can predispose them to nerve compression.
  • Medical Conditions: Conditions such as diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, and hypothyroidism can contribute to the development of carpal tunnel syndrome by causing inflammation or swelling.
  • Injury: Wrist injuries, such as fractures or sprains, can cause swelling and pressure on the median nerve.
  • Fluid Retention: Conditions that cause fluid retention, such as pregnancy or menopause, can increase pressure within the carpal tunnel.


Symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome can vary in severity and may include:

  • A sensation of “pins and needles” or numbness in the thumb, index, middle, and ring fingers
  • Pain in the wrist and hand, which may extend to the forearm
  • Weakness in the hand and a tendency to drop objects due to decreased grip strength
  • Symptoms often worsen at night and may disrupt sleep

Diagnostic Process

Diagnosing carpal tunnel syndrome involves a comprehensive evaluation by a healthcare provider. The diagnostic process typically includes:

  • Medical History: Discussing your symptoms, daily activities, and any previous wrist injuries or medical conditions with your doctor.
  • Physical Examination: Assessing the sensation, strength, and appearance of the hand and wrist. Special tests, such as Tinel’s sign (tapping over the median nerve) and Phalen’s maneuver (holding the wrists in a flexed position), may be performed.
  • Imaging Tests: X-rays or ultrasound may be used to identify any structural abnormalities or other conditions contributing to the symptoms.
  • Nerve Conduction Studies: Electromyography (EMG) and nerve conduction velocity (NCV) tests to assess the function of the median nerve and confirm the diagnosis.

Treatment Options

Conservative Care

For many patients, non-surgical treatments can effectively alleviate the symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome:

  • Activity Modification: Avoiding activities that exacerbate symptoms and taking frequent breaks to rest the hands and wrists.
  • Wrist Splinting: Wearing a splint, especially at night, to keep the wrist in a neutral position and reduce pressure on the median nerve.
  • Anti-Inflammatory Medications: Over-the-counter pain relievers such as NSAIDs can help reduce inflammation and pain.
  • Corticosteroid Injections: Injections of corticosteroids can reduce inflammation and provide temporary relief of symptoms.
  • Physical Therapy: Exercises to improve wrist flexibility and strengthen the muscles supporting the wrist.

Surgical Treatment

When non-surgical treatments do not provide sufficient relief, or if there is significant nerve compression, surgery may be necessary. At Excel Health, we prioritize minimally invasive surgical options to ensure the best outcomes and quickest recovery times.

Endoscopic Carpal Tunnel Surgery

Endoscopic carpal tunnel surgery is a minimally invasive procedure where a small camera (endoscope) is inserted through a tiny incision in the wrist or palm. The surgeon uses the camera to guide small instruments to cut the transverse carpal ligament, relieving pressure on the median nerve. This technique offers the advantages of smaller incisions, less postoperative pain, and a quicker recovery compared to traditional open surgery.

Carpal Tunnel Release Surgery

Carpal tunnel release surgery, also minimally invasive, involves making a small incision in the wrist or palm to directly access and cut the transverse carpal ligament. This release creates more space in the carpal tunnel, reducing pressure on the median nerve. Both endoscopic and open-release surgeries aim to provide long-term relief from the symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome.

Recovery and Rehabilitation

Recovery from carpal tunnel syndrome, whether treated conservatively or surgically, involves a combination of rest, rehabilitation exercises, and regular follow-up appointments. After surgery, most patients can return to light activities within a few days and gradually resume normal activities over several weeks. Physical therapy may be recommended to restore strength and flexibility to the wrist and hand.

Managing Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

Effective management of carpal tunnel syndrome involves making ergonomic adjustments at work, taking breaks to rest the hands, and performing exercises to maintain wrist health. Regular follow-ups with your healthcare provider will help monitor your progress and adjust treatments as needed.

If you suspect you have carpal tunnel syndrome or are experiencing symptoms, contact Excel Health for a comprehensive evaluation and personalized treatment plan. Our dedicated team is committed to providing the highest quality care to help you regain function and comfort in your daily activities.

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