Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

South Valley Neurology

Neurologists & Pediatric Neurologists located in Morgan Hill, CA & San Jose, CA

While carpal tunnel syndrome may not be life-threatening, it’s a nagging condition that can cause constant pain or discomfort and limit the use of your hands. The team at South Valley Neurology is well-versed in diagnosing and treating carpal tunnel syndrome. If you’re suffering from the limitations of carpal tunnel syndrome, call the office in San Jose, California, for pediatric care or the office in Morgan Hill, California, for teenagers and adults. You can also request an appointment online today.

Carpal Tunnel Syndrome Q & A

What is carpal tunnel syndrome?

Your carpal tunnel runs along the inside of your wrist, creating a pathway from your arm to your hand. It's made up of small bones that form the bottom and sides of the conduit, with a tight ligament across the top creating the “roof.”

The median nerve runs through the carpal tunnel, down your arm, and into your hand and provides sensation for most of your hand except your pinkie finger.

Nine flexor tendons that control the movements of your fingers also pass through your carpal tunnel. The tunnel also contains synovium, tissues that provide lubrication for the movement of your tendons and enable smooth passage for these tendons.

Your carpal tunnel is a busy thoroughfare in a tight, unyielding space, which means that anytime there’s a disruption, it can affect your nerves and your tendons.

With carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS), just such a disruption takes place. If your synovium becomes irritated and inflamed, it crowds the inside of your carpal tunnel, placing pressure on your median nerve.

What are the symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome?

The most common symptoms of CTS are:

  • Pain, numbness, tingling, or burning in your fingers, except your pinkie
  • Weakness in your hand
  • Pain that radiates back through your arm to your shoulder
  • Jolts of pain with specific movements that travel either forward or back

Depending upon the extent of the nerve irritation, your discomfort can range from mild to severe.

What causes carpal tunnel syndrome?

Most cases of CTS come on gradually and are usually the result of:

  • Repetitive use
  • Heredity
  • Being female (it’s far more common in women than men)
  • Extreme flexion or extension of your wrist
  • Pregnancy
  • Health conditions, such as rheumatoid arthritis and diabetes

Since CTS typically develops gradually, early intervention is essential.

How is carpal tunnel syndrome diagnosed?

To diagnose carpal tunnel syndrome, your South Valley Neurology provider conducts an exam and asks about your symptoms, including when they started, their severity, and if any activities like typing make them worse.

Afterward, they order several tests, including a nerve conduction velocity (NCV) test and electromyography (EMG). An NCV assesses your nerves for signs of damage or dysfunction. Electromyography measures the electrical activity in your muscles.

What is the treatment for CTS?

Treatment of carpal tunnel syndrome depends on the severity of your symptoms and their effects on your daily life. South Valley Neurology usually recommends conservative treatments, like taking frequent breaks, icing your hands, and physical therapy.

If your symptoms persist or worsen, your provider might recommend corticosteroid injections or a wrist splint. In rare instances, surgical intervention may be necessary. Your doctor may also recommend the use of specific over-the-counter medications and/or prescription medications to treat the symptoms of CTS and help improve daily functioning.

To receive treatment for carpal tunnel syndrome, call South Valley Neurology or request an appointment online today.