LCHM Summer 2018 - 7

L C M E D S O C .O R G

If you are currently experiencing wrist or hand pain, you
may wonder whether you are developing carpal tunnel
syndrome. But how can you know?
First, recognize that it is always wise to to see an experienced
hand surgeon early on if you are experiencing any type of
hand joint pain so that you can be properly diagnosed. Second,
keep in mind that it can be very helpful to document your
symptoms - that way, you will have helpful information
to refer back to when you see the doctor. This can aid in
determining whether you have carpal tunnel syndrome.
Occupations where people are more likely to develop
carpal tunnel syndrome include those where frequent use of
vibrational equipment (e.g., drills, pneumatic tools, saws) is
necessary, high force-high repetition grasp (e.g., production
labor, meat packing industry) is required, or work in a cold
environment (e.g., butchers, frozen food industry) is essential.
The incidence of carpal tunnel syndrome is higher in women,
patients with diabetes, and rheumatoid arthritis.

Carpal tunnel syndrome involves compression of
the median nerve at the wrist. Symptoms of carpal
tunnel syndrome vary, but include:
*‚óŹTingling or numbness in the fingers, particularly the
thumb, index, middle, and ring fingers
* Impaired dexterity of the thumb and fingers
(dropping change, difficulty buttoning buttons)
* Pain in the hand that extends up the forearm
(most commonly at nighttime)
* Requirement to switch hands to relieve symptoms for
activities such as driving, reading, or holding a telephone
* For night symptoms, improvement with shaking the
hands out or resting the hands on pillows
* People at Higher Risk of Development of Carpal
Tunnel Syndrome

Here are some tests a hand surgeon may use
to determine whether a patient has carpal
tunnel syndrome:
* Tapping on the wrist adjacent to the palm to determine if
there is tingling in the fingers
* Pressing the backs of both hands together for several
minutes to check if tingling is reproduced in the fingers
If you are diagnosed with carpal tunnel syndrome, your
hand surgeon may offer night splinting and/or a cortisone
injection. Alternatively, surgery through open or endoscopic
techniques will help to relieve symptoms, which is often
successful and definitive in resolving this condition. With
very severe changes on the EMG/NCV, surgery may not
fully yield improvement.

* EMG/NCV (electromyography/nerve conduction velocity)
to determine the degree of electrical delay where the
nerve is pinched

SUMMER 2018 | Lehigh County Health & Medicine 7


Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of LCHM Summer 2018

LCHM Summer 2018 - 1
LCHM Summer 2018 - 2
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