Carpal Tunnel Syndrome: What You Should Know About This Painful Affliction

Learning about carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS) can help you make educated decisions about your treatment. Here's what you need to know. 

Permanent nerve damage can result.

While it's common to wait until you've reached total debilitation before seeking treatment — especially with carpal tunnel syndrome which tends to cause annoying symptoms before it causes much pain — you should visit with your doctor as soon as possible if you're showing symptoms. This is because permanent nerve damage can occur if left untreated. 

Your job might have caused your symptoms.

Carpal tunnel syndrome is most often caused by repetitive motions, like typing or welding in a certain position. If you have a highly repetitive job, visit with your employer about your symptoms and their possible connection with your work. If your work is deemed responsible for your injuries, your medical expenses might be paid through workman's compensation.

You might be able to avoid surgery.

Seeking treatment early can help you make lifestyle changes and take appropriate action to stop or slow the progression of carpal tunnel syndrome. An orthopaedic surgeon can recommend simple, non-invasive measures to protect the median nerve, reduce inflammation, and prevent permanent nerve damage.

Not everybody experiences pain.

While some patients have pain in the wrist or forearm, some patients complain primarily of clumsiness, weakness, and numbness in their hands. Even if you have no pain at all, you might have inflammation in the carpal tunnel putting pressure on the median nerve. Visit with your doctor. 

Diagnosis is fairly simple.

In fact, carpal tunnel can be diagnosed through a few quick, inexpensive in-office tests that take no more than 10 to15 minutes. Patients sometimes avoid scheduling an appointment out of fear that they will incur large bills or be subject to extensive testing, but further testing is usually only required when surgery is being considered. 

It's very uncommon for symptoms to return after surgery.

Patients often express fears that they will have surgery to correct CTS and then return to their repetitive work and develop the same symptoms, but it's very uncommon. Most patients are able to make small adjustments to the way they work to prevent recurrence.

It's not always carpal tunnel syndrome.

Being diagnosed by a specialist is important because the symptoms of carpal tunnel closely mimic the symptoms of some other conditions. Identifying the cause can get you on the road to recovery.

To learn more about carpal tunnel syndrome or request an appointment today, visit Arash A. Dini, MD today; Dr. Dini is an expert in the diagnosis and treatment of CTS and other bone and joint problems.

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