The Carpal Tunnel Syndrome Test
July 6th, 2016 by LOC Team
What is carpal tunnel syndrome?
Carpal tunnel syndrome is a condition that affects the carpal tunnel which is a narrow passageway on your wrist. This passageway is made up of bones and ligaments and it is the home of the median nerve. This nerve controls the sensation and movement of the first three fingers and thumb. It is also the place that the tendons run through towards your fingers.
When this nerve is compressed or pinched it results in weakness, tingling or pain in the hand. It is these sensations that are called carpal tunnel syndrome. The pain develops slowly at first, you are most likely to notice it when you first wake up in the morning or at night in the early stages. The feeling is very similar to pins and needles. During the day, you might notice tingling or pain when holding something or when driving. Moving or shaking your fingers can sometimes help.
What carpal tunnel syndrome tests are available?
The physical tests.
When you visit your GP for the carpal tunnel syndrome test, they will likely tap your wrist to see if you experience tingling, pain or numbness in your fingers. This test is not too reliable, however, it is a starting point.
Holding your wrist up above your head for a minute or flexing it are also other common tests for carpal tunnel syndrome. This should induce some pain, tingling or numbness in your hand if you do have the condition.
Any of the symptoms mentioned above could be the result of your median nerve being pinched. The tests mentioned above can often be enough to diagnose carpal tunnel syndrome, if you have the typical symptoms.
Further testing is only usually needed if your GP is uncertain after the tests above. They may also want to rule out other conditions that have some similar symptoms. These further tests can include:
A blood test is used when your doctor suspects that your carpal tunnel syndrome is related to an underlying condition. These underlying conditions can include; rheumatoid arthritis, diabetes or an under-active thyroid gland.
Nerve conduction studies.
The nerve conduction studies are a test that measures how fast the signals are passing through your nerves. Electrodes will be placed on your wrist and hand and a current will be passed through. This small current is used to stimulate the nerves in your wrist, fingers and often your elbow. The results from the nerve conduction studies can indicate how much damage there is to your nerves.
After a diagnosis of carpal tunnel syndrome, an X-ray may be recommended. This is usually only to aid in diagnosis of rheumatoid arthritis, fractures or some other common disorders. Your doctor may also recommend that you have an ultrasound of your wrist and your hand to examine the median nerve.
If you think that you may have carpal tunnel syndrome then the best thing you can do is make an appointment with your GP. They will be able to perform the tests needed to see if any further action needs to be taken.
If you found this article helpful then please explore our blog further. We have a lot of other articles that can provide you more information about common medical conditions.
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