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Question:

Numbness on my right thumb: carpal tunnel syndrome?

Dear Ask The Doctor:
Hello, Yesterday when i woke up from my sleep my right thumb was numb, so i thought it would go away after a while. The problem is that the right thumb is still numb and its only the outer surface. I can move my thumb its just i have a weird sensation on the surface of it, like a slightly numb sensation. My age is 18 and i am a female? Im just curious as to what suddenly just happened to my thumb, its still numb, by the way.


Answer:

The recent numbness sensation in your thumb might be the initia symptom of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome (CTS) which is an entrapment of the median nerve within the carpal tunnel at the level of the wrist.
Usual symptoms include numbness, tingling, ”pins and needles” and pain in the hand, especially the thumb , index and middle fingers.
The conservative treatment includes first of all a work-site ergonomic assessment may help to reduce potentially exacerbating factors, in your case you should  modify all the postures or activities that reproduce the pain. The use of a wrist-hand brace that sets the wrist joint in neutral position (to be worn at nighttime for a minimum of 3-4 weeks) many off-the-shelf wrist splints seem to work well. A specific stretching/strengthening program for the hand and wrist may be useful in improving strength and dexterity. The use of anti inflammatory medications (i.e.: “Aleve”) may be of benefit to control de pain. Lack of aerobic exercise (along with increased Body Mass Index) is a risk factor for the development of CTS and should be addressed. Overuse of legal drugs (e.g., caffeine, nicotine, alcohol) can contribute to CTS and should therefore be reduced.
Most individuals with mild-to-moderate carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS) respond to conservative treatment, the local corticosteroid injection may be considered in those cases that show poor improvement with the conservative treatment (although injection rarely is used in practice).


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