When Should You See a Doctor for Carpal Tunnel Syndrome?

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Numbness, weakness, and tingling in the hands often signify carpal tunnel syndrome. Explore these symptoms and the importance of seeking prompt care.

Carpal tunnel syndrome results in pain, weakness, tingling, and numbness caused by the compression of the median nerve, which runs down the arm, through the wrist, and into the hand. These symptoms may seem like a simple annoyance, but over time the pain can increase and severely affect simple hand functions like gripping. Learn how to identify the symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome so you can seek prompt medical treatment.

Symptoms That Require Medical Attention

Carpal tunnel syndrome is most common among pregnant women, people who perform repetitive hand motions, people who have a family history of this condition, and people with certain chronic medical conditions such as diabetes. You should see a doctor if you develop:

  • Any carpal tunnel symptoms that affect your ability to work
  • Weakness in the thumb, fingers, or hand
  • Inability to bring the index finger and thumb together
  • Difficulty holding objects or performing simple movements with your hands
  • Numbness, tingling, or pain in the hand for fingers lasting more than two weeks

These symptoms usually develop gradually. If you abruptly lose feeling in the fingers, arm, or hand, call 911 or go to the emergency room.

Treatment for Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

When you visit a doctor for carpal tunnel syndrome, he or she will perform a physical exam. You may need an electromyography and nerve conduction study to confirm the diagnosis and rule out other conditions.

Some cases of carpal tunnel resolve if you rest the hand and wear a splint at night for a few weeks. Over-the-counter pain medications can reduce the pain caused by nerve compression, and your doctor may recommend steroid shots to control symptoms. When these measures are ineffective, an orthopedic surgeon can perform a procedure to relieve pressure on the median nerve. Most people find that this surgery helps restore function and eliminates symptoms.

Left untreated, permanent nerve damage can result as a complication of carpal tunnel syndrome. Even when symptoms are mild at first, they tend to exacerbate over time. If you experience the symptoms described above, visit the team at 360 Orthopedics in Sarasota, FL. Call 941-951-2663 or complete our online form to request an appointment. You can also see us for workers’ compensation care if your job contributed to the development of carpal tunnel syndrome.