Can I stop the pain of my carpal tunnel syndrome?

Carpal tunnel syndrome varies in severity. In the mildest cases, one might experience pins and needles and some weakness in the thumb. Those presenting at Mr Sudip Ghosh’s Milton Keynes clinic with more severe cases describe how intense the pain can be, often causing sleepless nights when the pain is at its worst.

What is causing the pain?

Carpal tunnel syndrome is a set of symptoms that occur when the median nerve is compressed as it runs through the carpal tunnel, the space in the wrist between the small carpal bones and the retinaculum ligament. There are a variety of reasons this may happen, including a trauma to the wrist, pregnancy-related oedema (water retention), rheumatoid arthritis, or minor changes to the tendons which also pass through the carpal tunnel. The median nerve serves the thumb, forefinger, middle finger and half of the ring finger; pain may at first affect these fingers, spreading across the front and to the back of the tips. The pain may continue to travel up the forearm and even to the shoulder.

How can a surgeon help?

In 1 in 4 cases the symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome clear with no medical intervention within a year. For persistent but milder cases there are non-surgical treatments that include wrist splints and steroid injections. However, in some cases surgery offers the best chance of a long-term cure and is likely to be advised if the median nerve is at risk of being permanently damaged or the muscles at the base of the thumb are beginning to waste. During carpal tunnel surgery, experienced Milton Keynes surgeon Mr Ghosh will reduce the pressure on the nerve by cutting the carpal ligament. This is a straightforward procedure, performed in the outpatient clinic using local anaesthetic. In mild cases of carpal tunnel syndrome, surgery relieves symptoms immediately; more severe cases may entail a longer recovery time.

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