Researchers from Canada have found patients with clinically diagnosed carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS) may not always have their diagnosis confirmed upon electro-diagnostic testing.
The results were based upon a review of tests on 252 patients, who were evaluated and then diagnosed with carpal tunnel syndrome.
Amazingly only 68% of the patients agreed which hand really had carpal tunnel syndrome when their observations were compared with the electro-diagnostic tests (EMG).
These surprising results alerted the physician that possible non-neurological conditions could coexist with the alleged carpal tunnel diagnosis and a prompt regional musculo-skeletal examination should be performed.
Commonly CTS is due to the simple fact that the carpal tunnel pathway is smaller in some people than in others, causing it to get irritated and damaged more easily.
Some other contributing factors could include:
- trauma or injury to the wrist that cause swelling, such as sprain or fracture
- over active pituitary gland
- rheumatoid arthritis
- mechanical problems in the wrist joint
- work stress
- repeated use of vibrating hand tools
- fluid retention during pregnancy or menopause
- a cyst or tumor in the canal
- finally in some instances no cause can be found
The report highlights the necessity of a thorough investigation when a patient complains about symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome to be certain that the condition is actually CTS and not some other problem that mimics it.
For your convenience the paper itself can be accessed here from the Wiley Online Library.
If you do in fact have carpal tunnel syndrome common treatments include avoiding activities that may be causing symptoms, wearing a wrist splint, symptomatic remedies such as pain-killers such as nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) to relieve the pain and reduce inflammation, physical therapy, or as a last resort surgery.