Is Carpal Tunnel Syndrome Reversible?
When the pain and numbness of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome begin to overshadow your enjoyment of everyday activities, it may be time to seek treatment. Carpal Tunnel Syndrome symptoms occur when the median nerve, which provides sensation to the hand, becomes compressed within an area of the wrist known as the carpal tunnel.
“I tell my patients that when they are experiencing symptoms of pain, numbness, tingling, burning, et cetera, their nerve is not receiving the blood that it needs to function properly,” says Nathan Lesley, MD, an orthopedic surgeon who specializes in hand and upper extremity surgery, the founder and CEO of the Hand to Shoulder Center in Fort Worth, Texas. “Over time, as symptoms become more constant and more severe, the nerve itself is damaged, sometimes permanently.”
Some Carpal Tunnel Syndrome treatments, like wearing a wrist brace or getting corticosteroid injections,1 may provide temporary relief. A surgical procedure may provide a permanent fix; however, reversing the effects of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome indefinitely. The minimally invasive endoscopic surgical procedure known as SmartRelease is a safe, effective procedure with a short recovery time that may improve your overall quality of life.2
“Patients often drive themselves home from the procedure and return to work the following day,” Lesley says.
Surgeons have been relieving patients’ Carpal Tunnel Syndrome pain with SmartRelease surgery for more than 30 years.3 It’s a quick outpatient procedure that can help you say goodbye to pain and regain control of your life again.
What happens if Carpal Tunnel Syndrome goes untreated?
When Carpal Tunnel Syndrome is left untreated, you may begin to experience pain, tingling, or numbness more frequently as time passes. Symptoms may gradually intensify, and the pain may become debilitating. Some people notice weakness in their hands or fingers, and they may find it difficult to move their thumb or grip things with the affected hand.
If you try to resolve the immediate discomfort, you may resort to temporary fixes like wearing a wrist brace, but a brace can be bulky and interfere with your ability to get things done efficiently. It may interfere with your ability to sleep at night, or it may not relieve your discomfort enough for you to rest.
Compression of the median nerve may lead to nerve damage4 over time, so it’s best to seek a doctor’s advice before you begin to lose sensation in your affected hand.
Surgical intervention helps to relieve pressure on the median nerve within the wrist. Still, it may not be possible to reverse permanent damage if you’ve waited too long to address the problem.
“It is best to relieve the pressure within the carpal tunnel before nerve injury occurs,” Lesley says.
Instead of ignoring hand and wrist pain and living with discomfort, make an appointment with your primary care physician or a hand surgeon to discuss the problem.
“My advice to patients is not to let Carpal Tunnel Syndrome interfere with their activities or their sleep,” Lesley says. “If non-operative treatment such as nighttime splinting is ineffective, a simple 5 to 10-minute procedure will give them the relief they need.”