Carpal tunnel syndrome is a very common condition of the wrist. It is characterized by compression or irritation of the nerve located in the centre of the wrist (in the carpal tunnel), which is also called the median nerve.
Carpal tunnel syndrome is often caused by a movement that puts the wrist in a static position. For example, bus drivers are at risk of developing this type of condition, since the wrist posture that they adopt while driving a vehicle puts this joint in a position that can worsen the pain. The same is true for people who work many hours each day on a computer. Note that there are other risk factors not related to the position of the wrist, such as diabetes, arthritis, wrist injury, obesity or even hypothyroidism. Carpal tunnel syndrome usually results in a loss of mobility and muscle strength in the wrist.
The pain associated with carpal tunnel syndrome is mainly located in the wrist, hand and fingers. A person with this condition will usually notice numbness and tingling in the fingertips (mainly the thumb, index and middle fingers), as well as pain that can spread to the forearm in some cases. Unlike other wrist conditions, with carpal tunnel syndrome, pain tends to increase at night or during an activity in which the wrist is in a static position.
Diagnosis and treatment
To diagnose carpal tunnel syndrome, the doctor will first do a physical assessment and ask the patient questions about the pain. An electromyogram (EMG) will specify the degree of median nerve damage and determine the need for surgical decompression of the nerve. To confirm the diagnosis, the doctor may request an ultrasound, an MRI or any other diagnostic examination they judge appropriate. If any of these techniques confirm carpal tunnel syndrome, the doctor may prescribe cortisone injection under fluoroscopy, along with medication to relieve the pain and inflammation.
Imagix clinics are equipped with state-of-the-art imaging equipment that can help doctors diagnose carpal tunnel syndrome and determine the right treatment.
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