Carpal Tunnel Treatment
At Salt Lake Spine & Sports Medicine, we understand the pain and discomfort associated with carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS). We also understand its physiological sources. CTS occurs when the median nerve is irritated, sometimes even damaged as it travels through the carpal tunnel. Symptoms are often worse with activities that involve repetitive movement of the hand/wrist, or positions that cause compression on the carpal tunnel, such as driving, or holding a phone. Patients are often symptomatic at night, many times waking up and having to "shake out" the symptoms in their hands. We aim to correctly diagnose and effectively treat the problem to help maintain function and relieve pain.
Diagnosing carpal tunnel
Symptoms of CTS include numbness, tingling, pain, and sometimes weakness in your hand, usually on the side of your thumb, index and middle fingers. Sometimes, however, people do get symptoms that radiate to other fingers and up the forearm. Similar symptoms can also be caused by pinched nerves in the neck or further up the arm. That is why it is important to ensure a correct diagnosis before proceeding with treatment. Dr. Bowen and his team will work hard to provide you a proper diagnosis so you can get the treatment you need.
Some of the diagnostic procedures we use include:
- Review of medical history for signs of particular health problems such as arthritis or any recent injuries to the wrist, arm, or neck
- Check sensation, strength, and reflexes
- Examine the appearance of the neck, shoulders, arms, wrists, and hands for muscle atrophy
- Specific physical exam maneuvers evaluating the median nerve
- Electrodiagnostic testing to see how well the median nerve is functioning
- Occasionally, X-rays are ordered to rule out underlying bone pathology
If you do have carpal tunnel, early and accurate detection is critical to prevent permanent damage to the median nerve.
Treatment for carpal tunnel syndrome
At Salt Lake Spine & Sports Medicine, our priority is to find the treatment option right for you. Most of our patients with carpal tunnel syndrome find relief through nonsurgical treatments. Some of the solutions include:
- A home care program involving resting the hand and applying ice to the wrist
- A wrist splint, often worn at night
- Medication such as anti-inflammatory drugs like NSAIDS
- Physical therapy
- Occupational therapy
- An ultrasound-guided cortisone injection into the carpal tunnel
- In severe cases, surgery may be recommended.
When should you make an appointment?
If you are feeling pain, weakness, numbness, or tingling in your hands, wrists, or forearms that persists after a couple of weeks, it's a good idea to make an appointment. Many patients with carpal tunnel syndrome have little or no feeling in their fingers or hand and struggle to perform simple hand movements such as holding a phone or gripping a steering wheel. Call us at Salt Lake Spine & Sports Medicine to schedule your appointment today.