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Is my hand asleep?
By DR. GREGORY VOIT
Shore Orthopaedic University Associates
“I can't golf.” “I can't fish.” “I can't sleep.”
Many people tolerate the numbness, tingling, "pins-and-needles" sensation and pain associated with carpal tunnel syndrome. Subtle symptoms can be present for months, years or even decades before the day when they interfere with activities or sleep and prompt a visit to the doctor.
Carpal tunnel syndrome results when a swelling of the median nerve or other poorly understood changes in the confined space around the nerve compresses the nerve over the wrist. As a result of the compression, the nerve produces the same sensations as when a foot goes to sleep.
In less severe cases, treatment can be as simple as wearing a wrist brace at night to properly position the joint. Frequently a brace, anti-inflammatory medicines by mouth or injection, and/or hand therapy can relieve symptoms and restore normal function.
But sometimes simple treatments are insufficient and surgery may be necessary. Surgery opens the space confining the nerve and is extremely effective at permanently alleviating the problem. The procedure takes approximately 20 minutes.
Post-operative recovery is typically a matter of several weeks, with ability to do simple tasks almost immediately and recurrence of the problem in unusual, even with return to all normal, unrestricted activities.
Shore Orthopaedic University Associates has offices in Somers Point, Cape May Court House, Mays Landing and Galloway. To learn more about carpal tunnel syndrome, see www.shoreorthodocs.com or call 927-1991 to schedule an evaluation.