Take a moment and think about how many times you use your hands every day. Hundreds, right? Opening a door, writing a note, typing on a computer, driving a car – the list is endless. Now think of how difficult your daily life would be if you were forced to deal with pain whenever you use your hands or wrists.
Carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS) is a nerve condition that occurs when pressure on the median nerve at the wrist has increased enough to cause pain, swelling, numbness and tingling. The causes for carpal tunnel syndrome vary from keeping the wrist bent for too long, water retention, thyroid issues, among others. If you have any of these symptoms, you should consult a doctor immediately to see if you have carpal tunnel syndrome.
When seeing a patient, a doctor can look for signs of CTS through a physical exam. He or she may choose to do an Electromyography (EMG) study to learn more information and assist in a diagnosis. An EMG provides helpful information in evaluating the function of your nerves and muscles. For problems where weakness, loss of muscle tone, pain, numbness and tingling are present, the EMG can give your physician important information for making your diagnosis and treatment plan. Physiatrists like can help identify CTS and determine the proper course of treatment for the individual.
Treatment for carpal tunnel syndrome will vary from person to person. Different factors that decide treatment methods are length and severity of symptoms, regular activities performed by the patient and the patient’s occupation. Some examples of treatment options include:
- Physical therapy
- Wrist splinting
- Injection into Carpal Tunnel
If symptoms persist or become severe, you may be referred to an orthopedist for further evaluation and a possibly surgical solution. Should they deem it necessary, they may choose to perform surgery to release the carpal tunnel.