Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

Anatomy

The carpal tunnel is a narrow structure in the wrist. The tunnel consists of bones, tissues, tendons, and nerves. The tunnel is narrow and often results in the median nerve becoming compressed.

Cause

Pressure on the median nerve can cause swelling which makes the carpal tunnel even smaller.

  • Repetitive movement of the hand and wrist
  • Heredity
  • Age
  • medical conditions, including diabetes and rheumatoid arthritis

Symptoms

There are several symptoms for Carpal Tunnel Syndrome (CTS), you may have one or several of the following symptoms.

  • Numbness and Tingling in your thumb, index and middle fingers
  • Dropping objects – weakness in the hand/arm
  • Pain that can travel up the arm to the shoulder
  • Pain/Numbness can be worse at night – Sensation of your hand going to sleep

Exam/Treatment

The doctor can exam for weakness and perform several in office physical tests, such as, bending and holding your wrist to check for numbness, and tapping along the medial nerve.

Ultrasound – Ultrasound studies are also a means of identifying carpal tunnel syndrome. Ultrasound transmits high-frequency sound pulses into your body using a probe. The waves travel between tissues and fluid and are then reflected back to the probe and relays it to the machine.

Ultrasound is painless and there is no radiation involved.

NCV/EMG – Nerve Conduction Studies are performed while lying on a table and a tiny needle is inserted into the affected muscle. Electrical signals are recorded at rest and as you slightly flex the muscle a series of different muscles will be tested.