When Your Fingers Tingle, Your Wrist May Be to Blame
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June 6, 2012
Middletown, NY - It’s frustrating to be woken from a sound night’s sleep with numbness or pain in the hand and wrist. Many people blame their discomfort on sleeping in an unusual position, when in fact their symptoms may be an early sign of carpal tunnel syndrome. The hand and wrist specialists at Hudson Valley Ambulatory Surgery suggest that the sooner one sees a doctor, the sooner the doctor can help prevent long-term damage to the nerves in the wrist, the location of the carpal tunnel.
Carpal tunnel syndrome is caused when the median nerve that travels from the forearm to the hand becomes pinched at the wrist in a passageway called the carpal tunnel. This can cause classic symptoms, namely numbness and tingling in the hand and wrist and sharp pains that shoot up the arm. These signs often develop first at night but become more common during the day as the syndrome progresses. In more severe or advanced cases, carpal tunnel syndrome can lead to numbness and weakness in the affected wrist and hand and atrophy of the thenar muscle at the base of the thumb. While carpal tunnel often is caused by overuse from typing and other repetitive jobs, it also can result from an injury, rheumatoid arthritis, or thyroid disease.
“As with so many other conditions, it is important to be properly diagnosed by a doctor to prevent additional or permanent damage to the median nerve,” explains Dr. Ronald H. Israelski, an orthopaedic surgeon at Hudson Valley Ambulatory Surgery. “People who seek out early treatment may even be able to avoid surgery.” Non-surgical treatments include immobilizing the hand and wrist and avoiding movement that makes the symptoms worse. Exercises that stretch and strengthen the wrist may be helpful once symptoms are under control.
Nonetheless, many people need to undergo surgery, and surgery for carpal tunnel syndrome is highly common. “Hudson Valley Ambulatory Surgery is well-suited for carpal tunnel surgery since the surgery is performed on an outpatient basis and under local anesthesia,” says Dr. Israelski. Dr. Israelski points out that although a full recovery may take months, the surgery is highly successful and carpal tunnel syndrome almost never returns.
“Do what you can today to help prevent carpal tunnel syndrome,” advises Dr. Israelski. “Maintain proper posture when you work, stretch your hands and wrists often, and consider using a wrist support to help keep your wrist straight.”
Hudson Valley Ambulatory Surgery, LLC, is located at 75 Crystal Run Road, Suite 225, Middletown, NY 10941. For additional information, please call 845-692-9900.