02 Jul When Can You Resume Working After Carpal Tunnel Surgery?
Carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS) is a condition that causes numbness, tingling, and pain in the hand and arm. The condition is caused by pressure on the median nerve, which runs through the carpal tunnel in the wrist. Risks of developing CTS at work include forceful, repetitive tasks, prolonged use of the hands or wrists in an awkward posture, or vibration.
One of the common questions patients ask their doctor is, “when can I start working again after carpal tunnel surgery?”
Read on to learn more about carpal tunnel surgery and how long the average person takes off from work.
How Does the Carpal Tunnel Surgery Work?
The carpal tunnel is a small space in the wrist that houses the median nerve. The median nerve controls feeling in the thumb and first three fingers. Bones and ligaments surround the carpal tunnel.
The most common carpal tunnel surgery type is “open release” surgery. In this procedure, the surgeon will make a small incision in the palm side of your hand. Then, they will release the pressure on the median nerve by cutting the ligament that is pressing on it.
Factors That Affect the Recovery Time
The time it takes to recover from carpal tunnel surgery can vary depending on several factors.
1) The Severity of the Condition: If you have mild to moderate carpal tunnel syndrome, you may only need a short period off from work. However, you may need a longer recovery period if you have severe carpal tunnel syndrome, where the median nerve is significantly compressed. In this medical condition, the median nerve becomes compressed as it goes through the carpal tunnel in the wrist. It results in numbness, tingling, and weakness in the hand and fingers.
2) The Type of Surgery: Two types of carpal tunnel surgery are open and endoscopic. Open surgery is more invasive, so it will take longer to recover. Endoscopic surgery involves making smaller incisions, so recovery time is typically shorter.
3) The Type of Work: If you have a physically demanding job, like construction work, you will need around six weeks to recover. You will only need around two weeks to recover if you have a sedentary job, like office work.
If you have to drive for your job, you should not drive until you have full feeling and strength back in your hands and fingers. It could take up to eight weeks.
Read this article: Can you drive after carpal tunnel surgery?
4) Other Medical Conditions: If you have other medical conditions, like diabetes or arthritis, it will take longer to recover from carpal tunnel surgery. These medical conditions can cause complications like infections or slow healing.
Illinois Pain and Spine Institute is the best place to treat carpal tunnel syndrome in Chicago. Our board-certified pain management doctors specialize in carpal tunnel surgery and can help you recover quickly and safely.