Carpal Tunnel Syndrome / Peripheral Nerve Disorders

The nervous system is a complex network that connects the body with the brain and spinal cord. Peripheral nerves send critical information back to the brain from our senses. They also carry the signals from the brain and spinal cord to direct the movement of muscles.

The carpal tunnel is a narrow opening in the wrist that contains tendons controlling hand movement. It is surrounded by the small carpal bones and a strong band of ligaments. The median nerve also passes through the carpal tunnel into the hand and provides sensation as well as control of important hand muscles. Swelling may occur in the surrounding tissues from repetitive motion, from activities that require hand movement over a long period of time, or from chronic conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis or diabetes.

Neurosurgery Carpal Tunnel Syndrome Photo

Symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome are commonly felt at night and include:

  • Numbness or tingling, and pain that may travel up the arm to the shoulder
  • Burning sensation
  • Shock-like feelings in in the thumb or index, middle or ring fingers.
  • Weakness or clumsiness with the hand with a tendency to drop things

Treatments for carpal tunnel syndrome include braces, changes in activities that might be causing wrist swelling, exercises, or injection of steroids to reduce swelling. Surgical treatment is usually done on an outpatient basis and involves a small incision that opens the carpal tunnel space to relieve pressure on the median nerve. Recovery depends on the amount of nerve damage that has occurred, but usually takes 2-3 months.