Treatment And Prevention Of carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS)
Carpal tunnel syndrome results in numbness and pain in the fingers. In some cases the numbness or pain is extreme enough to wake up a person from his sleep. If left untreated it can lead to loss of movement and atrophy of some of the thenar muscles. For this reason it is extremely important to seek advice and treatment at the earliest when a patient is diagnosed with carpal tunnel syndrome.
There are many different treatment options available to patients suffering from carpal tunnel syndrome. What follows is a list of all these treatments and their success rate:
Treatment through braces and splints is the preferred option in the beginning of the disease when the patient exhibits milder symptoms. In fact the American academy of neurology has taken an official position on usage of splints and has recommended their use as a non invasive treatment for carpal tunnel syndrome.
Corticosteroids are analogues of steroid hormones naturally produced in vertebrates. A doctor can prescribe corticosteroid injections for a patient suffering from carpal tunnel syndrome. However, it must be noted that these injections only provide temporary relief and in no way they can be considered as a cure. Patients are given corticosteroid injections for the time being when other treatment options are under discussion for consideration.
Some experts claim that patients suffering from carpal tunnel syndrome can benefit from nerve gliding exercises and yoga. However the American society of orthopedics doesn’t support this claim. They have actually taken an aggressive stance towards such activities and have given very low grades to physiotherapy as an alternative treatment for carpal tunnel syndrome. However, some patients have reported relief from symptoms of CTS through physiotherapy. There are people who claim that switching to a more ergonomic life style and environment can also help in providing relief from symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome. Examples include switching from a QWERTY keyboard to a more ergonomic layout like Dvorak keyboard. It must be noted that physiotherapy can be considered as an option for treatment but only in initial stages of carpal tunnel syndrome.
Surgery is the most viable option for treatment of carpal tunnel syndrome. The surgical procedure aims at dividing the transverse carpal ligament in to two parts so as to release the pressure on the median nerve that passes through the carpal tunnel. There are two surgical options available to patients, one is an open carpal tunnel surgery and the second is the endoscopic carpal tunnel surgery. Both of these surgeries fair well and have excellent success rates, over 90 percent. The expenditure incurred by the patient on these surgeries is also the same. But many surgeons around the world now prefer endoscopic carpal tunnel surgery over the open carpal tunnel surgery as it allows the patient to return to work much earlier. A very small number of patients have reported the development of trigger thumbs after undergoing surgery for treatment of CTS. The outcome or result is in most of the cases controlled by external factors, for example poor mental status and alcohol and other drugs abuse after surgery is most likely to give poor results.