An Overview Of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome In Maryland


Interviewer: What does carpal tunnel mean?

Dr. Sarim Mir: Carpal, in Latin, means wrist. Carpal tunnel is an area at the wrist which is formed by 8 bones. It is in the shape of a tunnel and through this tunnel the tendons pass from the forearm on to the wrist. Along with the tendons there is a nerve that goes down to the first, second and third finger and half of the fourth finger.

So carpal tunnel syndrome is when you have pressure over that nerve that causes tingling and pain in the hand.

The Treatment for Carpal Tunnel Syndrome Does Not Always Consist of Surgery

Interviewer: Does treatment for carpal tunnel always have to be surgery? And is surgery a guaranteed option?

Dr. Sarim Mir: No, it really doesn’t have to be surgery. In our practice, we put emphasis on the proper diagnosis so there are patients who come to us who think that they have carpal tunnel but actually don’t have it. So for patients like that—whose problem is from arthritis in the hand—they could have inflammation of the tendons. So those types of patients will not benefit from surgery at all.

An Individual Suffering From Arthritis Will Not Benefit Much By Having Carpal Tunnel Surgery

Actually, somebody who had pain because of arthritis—and underwent carpal tunnel surgery wouldn’t have any improvement—and then they would tell everybody that carpal tunnel surgery doesn’t help because it didn’t help them. But that’s actually because they didn’t have carpal tunnel!

So patients who come to us during the early stage of the syndrome—whom we saw at the very beginning of their symptoms—can be treated by bracing. We can have them wear a carpal tunnel brace. We can also teach them exercises they can do so that they can prevent it from getting worse.

If Treated in Time, the Symptoms of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome Can be Completely Resolved

Interviewer: Is carpal tunnel permanent?

Dr. Sarim Mir: Carpal tunnel syndrome is one of the few things that if treated on time, can be totally resolved. However, in some cases, the patients who come to us have waited too long. They have had the symptoms for years and years and developed weakness of the hand. And once they begin to have weakness—once they develop atrophy or loss of muscle—that unfortunately is permanent. And these patients, when they come to us at that stage—it is important for them to have surgery because it will prevent further damage; however, they cannot regain the function of their hand back. These patients would often say that they had the carpal tunnel surgery but didn’t help. Unfortunately, it’s because they came in too late.