The diagnosis of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome ( CTS ) begins by seeking an evaluation by a medical specialist. Your doctor will obtain a History of the problem; this will be followed by performing a careful Physical Exam. Your doctor will pay close attention to the description of your symptoms and then this will be followed be an Examination. This may include a gentle tap to the wrist over the area of the Median Nerve to see if it produces any numbness or tingling into the wrist and hand ( Tinel’s Test ) Further tests may be performed including testing your grip strength and the ability to feel different sensations along the skin.
Special Tests: Your physician may order an X-ray or an MRI to rule out Arthritis or any other pathology and or disease process. A common nerve test is the EMG ( Electromyography ) and Nerve Conduction Study. This test is performed to detect any ” Slowing ” of the electrical impulses form the wrist to the hand. This ” Slowing ” is what has been described as Nerve Compression and is the most common reason for developing the symptoms associated with CTS.
Commonly, patients will first complain of waking in the middle of the night with pain and a feeling that the whole hand is asleep. This usually involves the thumb, index and middle finger. Rarely does it involve the Pinky finger as this part of the hand is controlled by a different nerve know as the Ulnar Nerve.
If you suffer from any of these symptoms, your doctor will determine the best course of treatment for you. Surgery is always the absolute last resort after all other conservative treatments have been attempted.