Just hand cramps or carpal tunnel syndrome?

Hand cramps when you’re typing? Many people instantly think carpal tunnel syndrome.Get an accurate diagnosis, and learn what you can do to ease the pain.

handsCarpal tunnel syndrome often starts with a “pins and needles” sensation, especially at night. The tingling and numbness in your palms and fingers soon become pain in your hands and wrists. Over time, you may lose sensation or grip strength.

The progressive condition may be brought on by increased pressure on a major nerve at the base of the hand. Rheumatoid arthritis, obesity, diabetes and even pregnancy can lead to carpal tunnel syndrome.

Why consult a specialist?

Suhail Mithani, MD, hand surgeon at Durham Regional Hospital, notes it may take a nerve function test to diagnose carpal tunnel syndrome.

“The diagnosis of carpal tunnel syndrome is made by a physical examination and often aided by nerve conduction studies,” he says. “These studies assist in quantifying the severity of the nerve compression.”

A specialist in conditions of the hand, such as the certified hand specialists at Durham Regional, can help find the combination of activity modification and medical intervention that’s right for you.

“In mild cases, a simple brace can alleviate symptoms,” says Dr. Mithani. “Our specialists help patients with physical therapy and ergonomic adjustments for the home and workplace. In certain cases, a cortisone injection provides relief from symptoms.”

For other people, carpal tunnel syndrome requires surgery.

“Surgical treatment can provide relief for patients with worsening symptoms,” Dr. Mithani says. “One new technique gaining popularity is endoscopic carpal tunnel release, which allows the surgeon to release the ligament causing compression of the median nerve without disturbing the overlying tissues.”

To find a physician who’s right for you, visit durhamregional.org.

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