Carpal tunnel syndrome is a common condition that causes pain and weakness in your hand and wrist. In addition, the condition also makes your hand numb and tingly – often giving the feeling of pins and needles in your fingers. But how long does carpal tunnel last? Let’s answer your questions.
The condition is the result of compression of the median nerve in your wrist. In many instances, the pain, numbness and tingly sensation in your hand fade away if you move the wrist around, relieving the pressure around the nerve.
However, carpal tunnel syndrome sometimes persists, particularly if you delay getting treatment. In such situations, the pain can prevent you from properly gripping small objects in your hand.
In some cases, carpal tunnel syndrome surgery is required. This minor operation heals relatively quickly, with patients returning to normal activities in about six weeks. Total recovery from the condition can last up to a year.
What is Carpal Tunnel Syndrome?
Carpal tunnel syndrome is a condition affecting the median nerve in the wrist, leading to a tingling sensation and numbness in the thumb, index and middle fingers. This nerve originates in your hand, making its way across the wrist through the carpal tunnel – a space between tendons and ligaments at the base of your palm.
Because this is a compact space, the nerve and tendons within are easily affected when the carpal tunnel is compressed. When the median nerve is under pressure, you may feel numbness plus pins and needles in your thumb and the adjacent pair of fingers.
Compression of the carpal tunnel and the nerves within is the result of a variety of reasons.
Causes of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
Several factors can cause pain, numbness and a tingly feeling in your hand, including:
- Repetitive motion involving extending and flexing your wrist fully
- Pregnancy; increased fluid retention during this period builds pressure in the carpal tunnel
- Rheumatoid arthritis and other joint inflammation conditions
- Injury and trauma to the wrist
How Long Does Carpal Tunnel Last?
How long carpal tunnel lasts can depend on a few different factors. In some cases, carpal tunel can improve after 6 months without treatment. This is especially true if you’re pregnant or under 30. If your symptoms are mild, then the condition may clear up within a year. While carpal tunnel syndrome can go away on its own, it’s unlikel to once the pain is obvious.
As long as the condition isn’t too severe, carpal tunnel can be treated without surgery. If non-surgical measures do not work for you after a certain amount of time, then surgery may be recommended. Following carpal tunnel release surgery, it can take a couple of months to recover and up to a year to regain full strength. It’s important to understand that carpal tunnel can get worse when left untreated, and it’s always a good idea to seek medical help earlier rather than later.
Treating Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
Many people suffering from carpal tunnel syndrome can manage the condition at home. Some home remedies and approaches relieve the pain and numbness in the fingers and wrist area.
For instance, it’s advisable to rest from activities requiring significant repetitive wrist movement. In addition, you can ice the wrist to reduce the inflammation within the carpal tunnel.
On the other hand, you can opt for professional medical help. This includes:
- Bracing the wrist with a carpal tunnel splint to alleviate pressure in the tunnel
- Steroid injections to the wrist
- Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs)
- B6 vitamins
- Hand therapy
- Carpal tunnel release surgery, where the doctor punctures the ligament at the top of the tunnel to relieve pressure.
Carpal Tunnel Release Surgery at The Harley Clinic
Carpal tunnel release surgery provides timely relief from the syndrome’s symptoms. The surgery is performed with local anaesthesia, and the patient can return home on the same day.
You can return to your normal routine within six weeks. However, it might take longer – six months to a year – to recover fully and regain full use of your hand.
If you have persistent numbness and pain in your hand, book a consultation to inquire about carpal tunnel surgery.