When Numbness in the Wrists and Hands Affects Daily Life
When a person who does detailed work with their hands experiences numbness, tingling or weakness in them, they may be dealing with a case of carpal tunnel syndrome. This condition begins as an annoyance, but can become so severe that the person can no longer grasp and hold onto anything. Here is why this condition happens and what help is available to prevent it from getting in the way of one’s daily activities.
Stress on a Nerve is the Cause
The median nerve runs down the forearm, through the wrist and into the palm of the hand. It passes through a narrow channel in the wrist, called the carpal tunnel, to get to the hand. Pressure on the nerve in this area causes it to become irritated. Working on a computer keyboard for long periods; and resting your wrists against the edge of the table as you type can cause nerve irritation. Repetitive motions, such as those performed on an assembly line, can also put stress on the nerve.
As the nerve continues to be irritated, the tissue around it becomes inflamed and the characteristic numbness and tingling starts in the wrist and hand. As it gets worse, it will become difficult to pick up something with the hand. In severe cases, the inflammation and pain are intense and the hands become so weak that they can no longer hold objects in them. Carpal tunnel syndrome can occur in both hands and wrists at the same time, especially if the condition is work related where both hands are used at once.
Treating Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
At the first signs of numbness or tingling in the hands, a specialist who treats wrist pain in Las Vegas. The doctor will evaluate the cause and extent of the median nerve irritation and make treatment recommendations. Initially, non-invasive options will be used to see if some relief can be gained. When those fail to give enough pain relief, surgical options may need to be explored.
Some of the non-invasive options include:
- medications to reduce the inflammation in the wrists
- physical therapy sessions to relax tense muscles in the wrists, which also reduces inflammation
- electrical stimulation of the muscles in the wrists to coax them to relax
- wrists wraps and supports to hold the wrists in a neutral position and take pressure off of the nerve
If the nerve irritation is caused by a disease that deforms the bones in the wrist, such as osteoarthritis, surgery may be needed to rebuild the structures in the wrist to remove pressure from the median nerve.
It’s important to identify this condition and start treating it early before it prevents a person from working or enjoying their lives.