WHAT IS CARPAL TUNNEL SYNDROME?

      • Carpal tunnel syndrome is an irritated or pinched median nerve that passes through the wrist in order to move the muscles of the thumb and provide sensation to the thumb, index and middle fingers.
      • Inflammation and/or friction may occur between the median nerve and neighboring finger tendons in the canal of the wrist called the carpal tunnel.
      • Risk factors include diabetes, pregnancy and repetitive motion of the hands and fingers.

WHAT ARE THE SYMPTOMS?

      • The pain is typically a shooting sensation that is accompanied by numbness and tingling.
      • It is often worse at night or with prolonged writing, use of a computer mouse or typing.
      • In some cases, the pain decreases when you “shake out your hands.”
      • If the nerve irritation is more severe, it may be accompanied by weakness and increased incidents of dropping things.
      • Significant weakness may require surgery.

WHAT DOES DR. TRACY DO TO DIAGNOSE IT?

      • Dr. Tracy will obtain a history, perform a physical examination and a nerve test, electromyography and nerve conduction studies – EMG/NCS to diagnose this problem.
      • Occasionally risk factors may be identified that put your body at risk for developing carpal tunnel syndrome like diabetes, pregnancy, or poor ergonomics in the workplace.

WHAT DOES INTEGRATED SPORTS & SPINE DO TO TREAT CARPAL TUNNEL SYNDROME?

      • Carpal tunnel syndrome may be rehabilitated with some or all of the following:
        • A combination of medications
        • Modification of activity
        • Proper fitting wrist splints
        • And doing tendon gliding exercises as prescribed.
      • Occasionally a steroid (corticosteroid or cortisone) injection near the medial nerve in the wrist can be helpful to alleviate pain in order to advance your exercise program.
      • A guided, progressive, and slow return of activity is also important in preventing a relapse.
      • It is important to address any poor ergonomic setups.
      • If aggressive non-operative techniques are unsuccessful in alleviating compression in the wrist, surgery may be considered.

Fortunately, physiatrists offer an aggressive non-operative approach so surgery is not often needed. If surgery is warranted, Dr. Tracy will recognize it and can direct you to a hand surgeon.