Question:My 78-year-old mother has carpal tunnel syndrome in her right hand. It's so severe she can't hold a book or even the phone. What can be done for her?
Early treatment after symptoms begin is the key to success with carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS). A six to eight week trial of therapy is the first step. This may include anti-inflammatory drugs and physical or occupational therapy.
If the symptoms aren't better, surgery may be the next step. A band of tissue across the carpal tunnel is released to take pressure off the median nerve. Even with severe CTS and/or a delay in treatment, studies show most patients get better.
If treatment is delayed too long, full return to normal may not happen.Michael E. Leit, MD, et al. Patient-Reported Outcome after Carpal Tunnel Release for Advanced Disease: A Prospective and Longitudinal Assessment in Patients Older Than Age 70. In Journal of Hand Surgery. May 2004. Vol. 29A. No. 3. Pp. 379-383.
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