Interviewer: What are some of the things that could make my carpal tunnel worse?
Dr. Sarim Mir: If people are doing unaccustomed work. For example, a person who decides to paint their house but is not used to this type of work; or a person who does something that they are not used to.
We see carpal tunnel syndrome patients during springtime as this is usually the time when everyone is cleaning their garages, taking extra time on their yards—all this can cause carpal tunnel.
Another thing that can increase symptoms of carpal tunnel is when people are not taking the precautions I told you about. Before they begin their work, if and when they don’t do their stretches or aren’t taking frequent breaks during their work to do their exercises they would increase their symptoms.
Delay in Treatment of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome Can Cause Build-Up of Pressure on the Median Nerve
Interviewer: What are the risks of not getting my carpal tunnel treated immediately?
Dr. Sarim Mir: If people don’t get treated on time, there can be a build-up of their nerve which is called the median nerve. So in time there will be a decreased blood flow to the nerve and then the nerve cells may begin to die. When these nerve cells die—the muscle fibers that they supply also dies.
We can see the decrease in size of the muscle in the palm. So people come when the base of the thumb towards the palm—like the ball of the hand—gets hollowed out. If that happens, it can no longer be regained. So people then have permanent weakness of the hand.
We always advise our patients that if and when they come on time—we can immediately tell which stage of their carpal tunnel are they on and advise whether or not a surgery is required.
Nerve Conduction and EMG Study are Utilized to Determine If there is Any Nerve Damage to the Patient
If it is just the beginning of carpal tunnel syndrome – they don’t have to have to undergo surgery. If it is showing signs of damage then they should definitely have to undergo surgery. What we do in the office is carryout a test called nerve conduction and EMG study. During the procedure we test the nerve at the wrist. Through that test – we can tell if there is any damage or none. With it, we can also tell if the carpal tunnel is mild, moderate, or severe.
There are times where a patient may just have tendonitis but could have some of the symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome. We frequently see patients who are really very afraid that they might have carpal tunnel syndrome and that they will have permanent damage—but they actually do not have carpal tunnel at all. These patients do not have to have to undergo surgery.
Carpal Tunnel Syndrome Usually Takes Several Years of Doing Repetitive work to Develop
Interviewer: How long does it actually take for carpal tunnel to start developing and to start taking effect?
Dr. Sarim Mir: We begin to see carpal tunnel in patients in their 20s. Usually it takes people several years of doing that type of repetitive work before they get carpal tunnel.
Feeling Pins and Needles in the Hands is a Common Symptom of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
Interviewer: Just as an example, if someone feels pins and needles in their hands when they wake up from sleep, could that be a sign?
Dr. Sarim Mir: That is actually a very common sign.
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