Carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS) patients want to be involved in making decisions regarding their medical or surgical care, according to the findings of a study to be published in the August 17th issue of the Journal of Bone and Joint Surgery (JBJS), and reported by Dr. Ramona Bates.
The study, “Patient’s Preferred and Retrospectively Perceived Levels of Involvement During Decision-Making Regarding Carpal Tunnel Release,” was conducted by orthopedic surgeon Hyun Sik Gong, M.D., and his colleagues.
“This study demonstrates that in carpal tunnel syndrome, which raises issues of quality of life rather than those related to a life-threatening condition, the majority of patients preferred to share decision making with their physicians,” noted Dr. Gong.
The study pointed out that while there are three primary approaches to medical decision making: the paternalistic model, the consumerist model, and the collaborative (or shared decision-making) model, it’s clear that the latter leads to greater patient satisfaction with their treatment.
Shared decision -making between the physician and patient allows for a greater exchange of medical and other information important to the patient’s health, and the patient’s cultural traditions, personal preferences and values, family situations, social circumstances and lifestyle can also be considered in the shared decision-making process.
“Patients considering treatment of carpal tunnel syndrome should feel comfortable with their provider’s level of involvement and not be afraid to ask questions or speak up,” said Dr. Gong.
As we’ve talked about before, CTS typically starts gradually with a vague aching in your wrist that can extend to your hand or forearm. Other signs and symptoms of CTS include tingling or numbness in your fingers or hand, radiating pain from your wrist up your arm or shoulder, and weakness in your hands with a tendency to drop things.
No matter what kind of treatment you seek for your CTS, it’s good common sense to be an active team member with your physician. It’s also good common sense to do whatever you need to in your daily life to minimize your CTS symptoms, and to help prevent CTS from worsening. Whenever you write, whether it’s a long letter or a short grocery list, use my ergonomic UGLee Pen. This pen has been designed specifically to allow your hand to remain in a comfortable, relaxed state the entire time you are using it. This reduces the stress on your hand’s flexor tendons and median nerve that are already compromised by CTS.
The above information on Dr. Gong’s study came from the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons (AAOS) and Dr. Ramona Bates.
(Photo credit – nlm.nih.gov)