Carpal tunnel syndrome is a disease that involves the hands, mainly affects women and can be very painful, especially at night. Following, is the advice of Dr. Alberto Lazzerini, Head of Humanitas Hand Surgery Unit.
This disease is caused by a compression of the median nerve that runs along the arm and reaches the fingers, through a narrow channel in the wrist.
The typical symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome are tingling and pain in the first finger of the hand that comes mostly at nighttime.
Advice against pain
“To reduce the pain when sleeping, it can be helpful to wear a wrist splint to keep your wrist in a neutral position. You can buy a wrist splint at specialized stores, but you can also use rigid wristbands worn by skaters,” explains Dr. Lazzerini.
“Each patient learns to take care of themselves by finding the best position to minimize discomfort at night. Some sleep with their hands up, others sleep with their arms hanging off the edge of the bed. These movements control the pain, there is no single rule for everyone.
Each person learns the movements that should avoid, whether it’s holding the phone for a long time or holding a cup of coffee. If you work in an office, you should find a good position for your wrist to avoid the pain and discomfort when using your mouse or typing on the keyboard,” says Dr. Lazzerini.
What is the treatment for carpal tunnel syndrome?
Usually, the treatment of carpal tunnel syndrome is a surgical intervention for the decompression of the median nerve. While waiting for surgery, you can make use of massages, exercises and hot and cold applications to combat pain. “However, these are palliative treatments, and symptomatic strategies that are certainly inconclusive. The same applies to some patients who have used acupuncture,” says Dr. Lazzerini.
And after surgery?
“Patients recommend massaging the area where the scar was formed, since the scar itself may be tough at first even painful. Depending on the degree of impairment of the motor function, it is possible to prescribe exercises: if the motor impairment is significant due to severe compression, it is recommended to perform rehabilitation sessions with exercises aimed at the fast recovery of activities”.