Carpal Tunnel Syndrome Video

By Bruce Steinberg, MD

hh isPlease watch this Video on Carpal Tunnel Syndrome by Dr. Steinberg.

How do Nerves Work?

A nerve is like a garden hose. Electrochemical energy runs through a nerve similarly to the way water runs through a hose.  If a hose has a kink or pinch, the water does not run through the hose as well. Likewise, when a nerve has a pinch, the electrochemical energy decreases inside the nerve. This pinching situation causes nerve problems like Carpal Tunnel Syndrome or CTS.

What Is Carpal Tunnel Syndrome?

The carpal tunnel is a space in the wrist that tendons and the median nerve run through. The tunnel has the 8 carpal bones and the carpal ligament surrounding it.

If there is compression on the Median Nerve as if runs through the carpal tunnel, it can cause pain and numbness in the hand. As a consequence, people with this syndrome often shake their hands to try to relieve the symptoms. The symptoms are usually in the thumb and the 2nd and 3rd fingers.

Illustration of Carpal tunnel syndrome with labelled anatomy and nerves and structures

Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

Can Anything Else Cause Carpal Tunnel Symptoms?

The nerve can also suffer a pinch in the neck where it exits the spine.  This may be result of arthritis or herniation of a disc. It this case, there are 2 places along the nerve or hose where pinching occurs.

Health issues can magnify the symptoms Carpal Tunnel Syndrome. They Include:

  • Diabetes
  • Thyroid Disease
  • Kidney Disease
  • Vascular Disease

In these cases, diseases can decrease the amount of electrochemical energy flow in the nerves.  Combined with pinching of the nerve, this can make symptoms worse and more complicated.

How do you receive Carpal Tunnel Syndrome Diagnosis?

A Carpal Tunnel Syndrome diagnosis is made with a thorough history and physical examination. Sometimes, a test called a Nerve Conduction Velocity Test and EMG are used to determine the source of the issue.

Conservative Treatment 

The goal of the treatment plan is to decrease the pinching of the nerve. This done with a Carpal Tunnel Splint that sets the wrist in slight extension. Additionally, Anti-inflammatory medications may help.

The next step would be a splint and injected steroids into the carpal tunnel to attempt to decrease the inflammation.

Surgery for Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

If conservative treatment does not help, the performance of a surgical release of the transverse carpal ligament becomes a requirement. Most of the time, Carpal Tunnel Release Surgery is done endoscopically. This a safer and less painful option when you compare it to the older open technique.

Dr. Bruce Steinberg

Dr. Bruce Steinberg

By: Dr. Bruce Steinberg

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