Do you experience frequent numbness or tingling in your thumb and fingers? Do you have hand and wrist pain or loss of grip strength? If so, you may suffer from Carpal tunnel syndrome. Carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS) is a type of entrapment neuropathy. This means it’s caused by damage to the nerves due to pressure on the median nerve.
Carpal Tunnel Diagnosis
Hand surgeons in Los Angeles use a combination of symptoms, clinical findings, and diagnostic tests to diagnose CTS. Clinical tests commonly used to diagnose CTS include the Phalen’s maneuver, a flexibility test used to induce numbness in the patient’s hand, and Tinel’s sign, a test used to detect irritated nerves.
Doctors who believe a patient may suffer from CTS may also use electrodiagnostic testing to confirm the diagnosis. If the results from electromyography and nerve conduction diagnostics are normal, then the patient does not suffer from CTS or the case is very mild.
Carpal Tunnel Treatment
Less severe cases of CTS can often be treated without surgery. For these patients, less invasive treatment can relieve symptoms in as little at two to seven weeks. Pharmacological treatment includes the application of steroids, either orally or by local injection. Steroids can relieve the pain caused by CTS. However, this treatment is not for use over an extended period. It is best as a stopgap designed to relieve pain until other treatment options can be identified.
For patients who seek a non-invasive carpal tunnel treatment plan, the use of wrist braces and splints should not be overlooked. Many doctors treating CTS patients recommend wearing braces at night and while performing the activity that primarily induces stress on the wrist. Splints, combined with the use of anti-inflammatory drugs can provide symptom relief without surgery.
If symptoms do not disappear with non-invasive treatment, surgery may be the best option. Properly known as “carpal tunnel release” surgery, doctors recommend this treatment for patients who suffer from constant numbness, muscle weakness and atrophy. During the procedure, surgeons divide the transverse carpal ligament in two. After this the ligament will no longer press on the nerve, thus relieving the pressure and causing the symptoms to subside.
Patients with the most typical CTS symptoms experience a 90% success rate with surgery.
Contact a Los Angeles Hand Surgeon
If you suffer from chronic pain or numbness in your wrist and hand, contact the Hand Surgery Center for Excellence in Los Angeles today. Their team of carpal tunnel experts can diagnose CTS and help you decide if a surgical solution is right for you.
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