Carpal tunnel syndrome is a disorder involving the hand, particularly affecting women and can be very painful, especially during the night. Here is the advice of Dr. Alberto Lazzerini, Head of Hand Surgery Operating Unit at Humanitas.

This disorder is due to compression of the median nerve that starts along the arm and reaches the fingers, passing through a narrow canal at wrist level.

The characteristic symptoms are tingling and pain at the first fingers of the hand, which arises especially during the night hours.


Advice against pain

To reduce discomfort while sleeping, it may be useful to wear a brace to hold your wrist in a neutral position. Braces can be purchased at dedicated stores, but you can also use the rigid wrist bands worn by those who practice skating,” explains Dr. Lazzerini.

“Each patient learns to manage himself/herself by looking for and finding the best position to minimize discomfort at night. There are those who sleep with their hands on top, those with their arms hanging out of bed, and those who continuously move them to control the disturbances. There is no rule that is effective for everyone.

Everyone learns to understand what movements they would be well advised to avoid, from holding the phone in their hands for a long time to taking a cup of coffee. If he does a desk job, he also learns to find the right wrist position to avoid pain and annoyance when using the computer’s mouse and keyboard,” says Dr. Lazzerini.


How is carpal tunnel syndrome treated?

In general, a median nerve decompression intervention is necessary against carpal tunnel syndrome; waiting for surgery, massage, exercises and hot and cold applications can help to combat pain. They are, however, palliative, symptomatic strategies that are certainly not solutions. The same effect has been evaluated, in some patients, in the use of acupuncture,” says Dr. Lazzerini.


What about after surgery?

Patients are advised to massage the region in which the scar was formed, since the scar itself can be very hard and painful at first. Depending on the degree of impairment of motor function, exercises can be prescribed: if motor damage is significant due to severe compression, rehabilitation sessions are defined with exercises aimed at the rapid recovery of function and activities”.