Carpal Tunnel Syndrome (CTS)
Carpal Tunnel Syndrome (CTS) has received well deserved attention because of its increased prevalence in the workplace. CTS is caused by pressure on, or compression, of the median nerve as it passes between the bones and a ligament at the front of the wrist. Compression of the nerve causes a progression of symptoms: initial numbness, tingling, or pain of the thumb, index and third fingers sometimes so severe as to wake a person up at night and/or swelling or tightness in the wrist and hand.
The disease can progress and the muscles of the hand begin to atrophy resulting in weakness and causing problems with simple tasks such as unscrewing bottle caps or even turning a key.
If the condition has been ongoing for more than a few months and if any weakness is noted on physical exam, the doctor may order an EMG/Nerve Conduction Study. This test can determine if there is evidence of severe nerve injury. If this is present, surgery may be required. However, the majority of patients will do well with conservative treatments without requiring surgery while under the care of a doctor who has had experience in treating CTS like those at Houston Spine and Sports Medicine.