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Carpal Tunnel vs. Wrist Tendonitis: What Is This Pain?

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Carpel tunnel syndrome and wrist tendonitis are fairly common maladies of the hands and the wrists. But what’s the difference between them and what kind of therapy helps remedy the pain?

Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

Carpel tunnel syndrome is unlike wrist tendonitis, in that the pain is caused by a pinched nerve as opposed to an inflamed tendon.

The carpal tunnel is a structure that’s found in the palmar side of the wrist. This tunnel protects a nerve that serves the hand and tendons that allow the fingers to move. In some people, the tunnel narrows to the point where it pinches the nerve. This results in tingling, numbness and weakness in the person’s hand. The hand might become so weak that the person starts to drop objects they usually have no trouble holding on to.

After a doctor diagnoses a patient’s carpal tunnel syndrome, there’s a variety of treatments that he or she can utilize. In the early stages, the patient can change the way he or she usesthe affected hand. The patient can take more breaks if he or she works on a computer or does other repetitive manual work. Cold compresses can also be applied to the wrist. Some patients find that massage therapy applied to his or her affected hand helps as does treatment by a chiropractor.

If the symptoms persist, the patient can be fitted with a splint to support the wrist. Splints are especially good at relieving the numbness and tingling that come at night. The doctor might also prescribe corticosteroids and NSAIDs like ibuprofen to ease the pain of the condition.

If these treatments don’t bring relief, the patient can opt for surgery. The surgery can be endoscopic or open. Both operations cut the ligament that’s pinching the nerve and so free the nerve. The good news is that the ligament heals itself and allows more room for the nerve at the same time.

Wrist Tendonitis

This condition happens when the wrist is overused, as during certain sports or certain types of manual labor. The tendons in the wrists become inflamed, swollen and painful. The condition usually comes on gradually. The person’s wrist might ache or be stiff when it’s asked to perform an action it’s not used to. Eventually, the wrist hurts even when normal activities are done. Some people also experience tingling or numbness.

After the problem is diagnosed, treatments include physical therapy. Sometimes this can be as simple as stopping strenuous activities and allowing the wrist to rest. NSAIDs can also help with the pain. The condition can also be eased by massage therapy or treatment from a chiropractor.

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