The carpal tunnel is a space in the wrist through which tendons and the median nerve pass. The nerve ant the tendons give function, feeling and the ability to move to the fingers. This nerve can be pressed if the size of the canal decreases or if the tendons swell and diminish its size. The condition that develops as a result is known as carpal tunnel syndrome. Causes of the CTS are mostly unknown. The pressure on the median nerve can be caused by the swelling of the tendons, by tumor or vascular malformation. It is possible that the condition is cause by repeated activity demanded by everyday work, but other conditions cause CTS. Those are pregnancy, obesity, tumors and smoking.
One of the first symptoms is pain, numbness or burning sensation in the thumb and fingers of the arm whose wrist is pressed. People usually at first start complaining about the gripping strength that has been diminished. Pain and numbness start in the arm and extend to the shoulder and neck.
The procedure and recovery
The surgery of the carpal tunnel includes release of the transverse carpal ligament and is advised when there is constant numbness, weakness or atrophy in the muscles in severe cases. If all the surgical procedures are performed without complications, recovery period is relatively short. This kind of surgery has high rate of success – almost 90% of patients recovered and got back on work after the recovery period. Since every patient is unique, recovery time from CTS surgery differs from case to case. There are even cases of people who had multiple CTS surgeries and different recovery times after each one. It can last from six to seven weeks, to three months and more. There are studies that show that certain factor such as alcohol use contribute to weaker results after the surgery. It is very rare that carpal tunnel syndrome returns after the successful surgery. Pain after the surgery usually is not due to CTS. It is possible that the person had a surgery for no reason since he was wrongly diagnosed, and the pain remained. After the surgery, a patient will experience certain pain. It is normal for a person to recover after six to twelve weeks, but some doctors claim that the maximum improvement will be achieved after a year. People who have to return to work shortly after the surgery should use ergonomical keyboard and mouse because it will help them recover faster after the surgery.