Carpal tunnel syndrome is a condition that can result in numbness, tingling and other painful sensations in the hand and arm. A pinched nerve in the wrist, specifically the median nerve, causes these symptoms. The carpal tunnel is located in the palmar side of the wrist and contains a number of structures including tendons that flex your fingers and the median nerve.
The onset of carpal tunnel syndrome is usually gradual and will most often start with numbness and tingling in the thumb, index and middle finger. Often, symptoms are most severe at night and frequently wake individuals from sleep. Those affected will find some relief by shaking the hands when symptoms occur. When the syndrome progresses, symptoms will start to become more frequent and may eventually progress to weakness of the hand and wasting of the hand muscles.
Carpal tunnel more frequently occurs in females and people who repetitively flex their wrists as a result of their work. Additionally, other medical conditions like diabetes, thyroid problems and rheumatoid arthritis increase the chances of developing carpal tunnel syndrome.
Carpal tunnel syndrome is best diagnosed by physical examination and electrodiagnostic studies, which include nerve conduction studies and electromyography (EMG).
Dr. Scott Naftulin and the treatment pain center of Specialty Spine, Sports & Pain Medicine in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, specializes in electrodiagnostic testing and nonoperative treatment of carpal tunnel syndrome. These treatments include occupational/hand therapy, splinting, medications, and ultrasound guided carpal tunnel steroid injections. If symptoms persist after nonoperative treatment, we can refer you for appropriate surgical intervention.