Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
Dr. Howard Liss treats disorders that cause pain and disability by providing consultative services and soft tissue and joint injections when needed. When medically appropriate, he makes specific referrals for diagnostic testing (lab work, imaging, electrodiagnosis), physical and occupational therapy, interventional procedures (epidurals and facet joint injections), and surgery.
Millions of Americans suffer from the nagging aches, tingling, numbness and weakness in their hand, wrist and forearm due to carpal tunnel syndrome (median nerve compression).
To better understand how carpal tunnel begins, consider the median nerve, which travels from the forearm to the hand through a small channel in the wrist (carpal tunnel). The median nerve provides sensation to the thumb, index finger, middle finger and half of the ring finger. When pressure is applied to the median nerve, causing the carpal tunnel to narrow or become pinched, individuals may begin to feel tinges of pain or changing sensations. Pressure may be due to inflammation (from injury), repetitive movements (especially when the hands are bent lower than wrist level), pregnancy or illnesses such as hypothyroidism, rheumatoid arthritis or diabetes.
Treatment and Rehabilitation for Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
Nearly 5% of the population experiences the effects of carpal tunnel syndrome. It’s important to understand that early treatment, patient education and behavioral modification under the direction of a physiatrist, prove to reduce pain and restore individuals to their highest level of functioning.
Physiatrists consider multiple upper extremity systems and how they affect the complex network of structures in the arm, forearm, wrist and hand. In turn, physiatrists often consult a team of medical professionals including clinicians, physical therapists, occupational therapist and interventionists to execute treatment and equip patients.
Early treatment may consist of applying ice packs to reduce swelling and medication for pain. Rest is also important. For instance, if it is determined that a specific activity is triggering carpal tunnel syndrome, taking frequent breaks can help. In some cases, the activity may require modification or it may need to be avoided altogether. Other non-surgical therapies include wrist splinting to provide support (especially during nighttime hours) and steroid injections. Even so, when carpal tunnel syndrome is triggered by an inflammatory illness such as osteoarthritis, physiatrists will guide treatment accordingly, with a focus on reducing pain and increasing mobility.
Conservative treatment for hand osteoarthritis may include:
- Steroid injections
- Finger or wrist splinting
- Heat or cold treatments
At the Howard Liss, M.D. Rehabilitation Institute, patients can rely on Dr. Liss to put together the right treatment, therapy and rehabilitation plan to ensure the most optimal outcome. Dr. Liss works closely with other specialists required to rehabilitate patients suffering from chronic pain or serious injuries, and Dr. Liss will refer patients as needed to ensure appropriate treatment. With extensive education and exposure to a variety of conditions that affect the cervical and lumbar spine, bones, nerves, joints, ligaments, tendons, muscles, brain, and spinal cord, Dr. Liss is uniquely positioned to help patients manage their pain and maximize their functioning.
If you are suffering from carpal tunnel syndrome, early treatment and attention will provide you with the greatest outcome. Contact the Howard Liss, M.D. Rehabilitation Institute in Tenafly to schedule an appointment.