Carpal tunnel syndrome is a condition involving the median nerve. It occurs when the median nerve becomes compressed. Compression of the median nerve in the wrist can develop into carpal tunnel syndrome, causing symptoms including numbness, tingling, burning, pain, and limited mobility in the wrist, hand, and fingers. It can be described by dull and aching sensations as well as sharp and sudden pain. Carpal tunnel syndrome symptoms can be felt in the palm as well as the wrist, thumb, pointer, middle, and ring fingers.
Nerve compression, which is also sometimes referred to as a “pinched nerve,” occurs when an abnormal amount of pressure is applied to a nerve. This pressure can come from a tendon, muscle, bone or other tissue. A pinched nerve can occur anywhere, but when it occurs in the median nerve around the area of the wrist, it can quickly develop into carpal tunnel syndrome.
Some people who suffer from carpal tunnel syndrome choose to undergo a surgical procedure in an effort to alleviate their discomfort and prevent future flare-ups. If you’re considering undergoing surgery, there are a few pros and cons of carpal tunnel surgery that you should know about.
What are some of the pros of carpal tunnel surgery?
- Improved mobility — One of the pros of carpal tunnel surgery is that it can potentially improve your mobility. If you suffer from limited movement and experience a lack of strength in your wrist, hand, or finger, this type of surgical procedure may improve their function.
- Decreased pain — Another pro of getting carpal tunnel surgery is that it can potentially reduce the amount of pain you experience. This type of surgery is made to alleviate pressure from the compressed nerve and reposition the tissue that is causing the nerve to be compressed.
What are some possible cons of carpal tunnel surgery?
- Complications after surgery — Just like with any kind of surgery, there is always a risk of developing complications. You could develop an infection or a buildup of scar tissue. It’s important to understand before going into your surgery that these complications could possibly occur.
- New or worsening symptoms — Another con of carpal tunnel surgery is that you could experience new or worsening symptoms. One of the reasons this might occur is because of swelling. Swelling from the procedure could cause increased pressure on the nerve and lead to experiencing more pain.
What are some other treatment options for those with carpal tunnel?
- Physical therapy — Physical therapists can guide you through a personalized treatment plan designed to release pressure and muscle tension over a series of unique movements and exercises. They’re specially trained in providing high-quality rehabilitative and strength-building care to a variety of patients. If you’ve gone through carpal tunnel surgery or are preparing for one, physical therapy can help you. Therapists can help make your recovery process smoother. They can also make you more prepared for your surgery with regular and intentional sessions. Additionally, if you’re someone who is hesitant to get surgery, physical therapy can sometimes be equally as effective as surgery at helping patients minimize their bothersome symptoms.
- Dry needling — One option for those with carpal tunnel syndrome seeking treatment is dry needling. Dry needling is a technique used to release muscle tension and pressure. This can be performed in some physical therapy offices, but it’s necessary to research which states allow physical therapists to use dry needling. During a dry needling session, a trained professional will use a “dry” or empty needle to insert into an area of muscle. This needle is designed to stimulate and then relax the muscle that may have either been tense or placed pressure on a nerve.
Alliance PTP is ready to help you learn more about the pros and cons of carpal tunnel surgery
At Alliance Physical Therapy Partners, we’re proudly bringing together physical therapy practices across the country to help people get the high-quality PT they need.
Want to see a physical therapist in person? We can put you in touch with an Alliance PTP partner that’s close to you and that can help you navigate the pros and cons of carpal tunnel surgery.
Not keen on in-person PT sessions or not close to an Alliance PTP partner? No worries. We also offer effective and affordable virtual physical therapy through our Agile Virtual Physical Therapy platform.
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