Like any other bone in your body, the bones of the spine, called vertebrae, can fracture. These fractures are usually a result of osteoporosis, pressure on the spine, metastatic diseases, a fall or other type of injury. A spinal fracture is called a vertebral compression fracture and occurs most often in the thoracic or middle spine.
Compression fractures can cause mild to severe pain depending on how they occur, and may also result in curving of the spine in some cases. If a fracture is suspected, your doctor may perform an x-ray, CT scan or MRI to evaluate the extent of the injury and determine the most effective treatment approach.
Treatment for compression fractures usually includes pain medication, rest and bracing. Medication simply relieves the pain but bracing will restrict movement, relieve pressure and allow the fracture to heal. Surgery may be required for more severe fractures, but is not usually necessary. Most compression fractures heal completely in eight to twelve weeks. Taking measures to prevent compression fractures is the most effective treatment.
Carpal tunnel syndrome, or CTS, is caused by irritation or compression of the median nerve inside the carpal tunnel, which results in symptoms including a numbness or tingling sensation in the fingers. The carpal tunnel is a narrow passage in the wrist protecting the median nerve, which runs down the length of the arm and through the wrist into the hand.
The median nerve controls some hand movement, as well as sensation in the thumb, index and middle fingers, and part of the ring finger. Open carpal tunnel release involves cutting the transverse carpal ligament, to relieve pressure placed on the median nerve.
Ulnar neuropathy is an inflammation of the ulnar nerve, which controls the muscles in the forearm and hand. This allows us to feel the sense of touch, texture and temperature throughout most of our hand and forearm. When this nerve is damaged, often at the wrist or elbow, patients may experience pain, numbness, weakness and restricted thumb movement. This condition affects men more often than women and can occur as a result of trauma, anesthesia, malnutrition or tumors.
Treatment of ulnar nerve neuropathy depends on the severity of the condition, but may include medication, exercises, splints and sometimes surgery to remove a cyst or correct damage from an injury. Our doctors will discuss your options with you, as well as home remedies you can take to help treat symptoms of ulnar nerve neuropathy.
Carpal tunnel release is an outpatient procedure performed to relieve pressure on the median nerve in order to reduce carpal tunnel syndrome symptoms, which include tingling and numbness in the fingers. Carpal tunnel release helps to restore muscle strength and dexterity to the hand(s), and is typically performed on patients who have had persistent (lasting longer than 6 months) symptoms that have not responded to conservative treatment methods.
Carpal tunnel release can be performed either through an open-surgery procedure or endoscopically; in both cases, the transverse carpal ligament is cut to relieve pressure on the median nerve. Each type of surgery has advantages and disadvantages. Open carpal-tunnel-release surgery involves a 2-inch incision in the middle of the palm; its advantage is that it provides the surgeon with a direct view of the treatment area, so there is less risk of accidentally damaging nerve tissue than there is with an endoscopic procedure. Endoscopic carpal-tunnel-release surgery is less invasive than open surgery; it involves only two tiny incisions, so patients have less postoperative pain and can return to work fairly quickly, assuming surgery was not performed on the dominant hand.
With both types of surgery, patients can return home the same day. Prescription pain medication may be necessary. Although some patients still have carpal tunnel syndrome symptoms after their procedures, most report that symptoms are significantly reduced.