Many of us spend a lot of time on the computer, but health experts say that can actually put your hands at risk for carpal tunnel, a syndrome that causes pain, numbness, and tingling. “With technology the way that it is these days, a lot of people on the computer develop this issue,” said Jackie Wise, a physician assistant with Lee Health.
Carpal Tunnel Syndrome is often mistaken for arthritis. “It’s actually an entrapment on the nerve itself and it causes nerve dysfunction; therefore, neurosurgery does address this issue as well,” said Wise.
Carpal Tunnel Syndrome is caused by a trapped nerve in the wrist. Patients may feel numbness in three fingers (thumb, index, and middle) and experience grip weakness and difficulty writing and opening things.
“Common causes are repetitive movement of the hand. People that work with vibrating tools, like jackhammers, things like that, obesity also contributes to it. It’s also pretty common in pregnancy just due to swelling of the extremities,” said Wise.
It’s most common in middle aged women on their dominant hand. “The most common time of the day where people would present these symptoms would present would be when people are driving a car, or they read the newspaper in the morning and they have to shake their hand out to try to get the circulation functioning but that’s really not the issue,” said Wise.
Many patients also complain of the pain waking them up at night.
“There’s conservative treatment and then there’s also surgical. Usually people start with conservative treatment which is usually ibuprofen, Advil, Motrin, just an anti-inflammatory to reduce the swelling of the nerve,” said Wise.
If that doesn’t help, doctors may recommend surgical decompression. “That would be an incision in the palm of the hand and we would open that sheath where the nerve lies and just open it up and decompress that nerve,” said Wise.
The one time surgery would eliminate the pain, getting patients back to their normal routine.
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Lee Health in Fort Myers, FL is the largest network of health care facilities in Southwest Florida and is highly respected for its expertise, innovation and quality of care. For more than 100 years, we’ve been providing our community with personalized preventative health services and primary care to highly specialized care services and robotic assisted surgeries. Lee Health - Caring People. Inspiring Care.