Are you experiencing numbness, tingling, and weakness in one or both of your hands? If so, there’s a good chance that you’ve developed carpal tunnel syndrome.
The carpal tunnel is a narrow passageway made up of small bones in your wrist. The median nerve, which assists with finger movement, travels through the carpal tunnel. Carpal tunnel syndrome occurs if the median nerve is compressed or squeezed in any way. Usually, this occurs because the tunnel narrows or tendons surrounding the tunnel are swollen and put direct pressure on the nerve.
Symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome may include:
Typically, these symptoms start gradually and may even come and go at first. As time goes on the symptoms will get worse and become more persistent.
The most common causes of carpal tunnel syndrome are:
If you think that you may have carpal tunnel syndrome, make an appointment with a pain specialist or an orthopedist. He or she will carefully examine your hand and wrist and perform a number of physical tests to determine your levels of pain and muscle weakness.
You doctor may also recommend Electromyography (EMG), which is a diagnostic procedure used to assess the health of your hand muscles and the motor neurons that cause those muscles to contract. Another diagnostic test, called Nerve Conduction Studies (NCS), measures the speed and strength of electrical signals traveling between two or more muscles. These tests can help your doctor make a definitive diagnosis of carpal tunnel syndrome.
There are various ways to treat carpal tunnel syndrome:
The most important thing is that you see a doctor as soon as you start experiencing the symptoms described above. It’s easiest to treat and reverse carpal tunnel syndrome as soon as symptoms appear. If ignored, the condition will worsen and your only option may be surgery.
If you’re experiencing pain that’s interfering with your quality of life, then make an appointment to see a pain specialist such as Dr. Mingi Choi of Somerset Orthopedic & Sports Medicine. Dr. Choi has more than 25 years of experience successful diagnosing and treating those who suffer from chronic pain. He is board-certified by the American Board of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation and a Fellow of American Academy of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation.