According to the American Physical Therapy Association, carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS) affects more than five million Americans, mainly those individuals performing repetitive movements for long periods of time.
We’ve talked here before about the causes and the symptoms of CTS, and that the carpal tunnel is a small passageway approximately the size of the thumb located on the palm side of the wrist.
Carpal tunnel syndrome is caused by compression of the median nerve (nerve connected to the hand that controls some muscles that move the thumb).
However, we’ve not yet discussed just how CTS is diagnosed by a medical practitioner, and I know many of you have questions about the tests that are done to determine CTS.
Below are the 5 most common diagnostic tests for CTS:
1. Durkan carpal tunnel compression test: A doctor will press down on the median nerve in the wrist to determine whether the pressure causes the patient to experience any numbness or tingling in the wrists.
2. Phalen maneuver (see photo): This test is also known as wrist-flexion and requires patients to hold their forearms upright by pointing the fingers down and pressing the backs of the hands together. Carpal tunnel syndrome may be present if one or more symptoms (i.e. tingling or increasing numbness) occur(s) within one minute.
3. Thumb abduction strength test: The doctor may straighten the thumb while it is being held to reveal signs of weakness in the median nerve.
4. Tinel Sign: The doctor may tap on the patient’s wrist with a reflex hammer. A positive test means that the patient experiences a tingling in the fingers or a shock-like sensation.
5. Electrophysiological tests: Nerve function is tested with electrical stimulation when symptoms persist. Additionally, this test can help to confirm the diagnosis and determine the best treatment option.
CTS can occur when stress injuries to the hand cause pressure to be placed on the median nerve. Numbness and pain are then felt, eventually leading to hand weakness. The stress injury is generally a result of repetitive movements.
If you have a job that requires such constant repetition, you will want to prevent further stress to the hand by keeping it otherwise as relaxed as possible.
When writing, instead of gripping the pen with force, putting extra pressure on the median nerve, use an ergonomic pen that is designed to relax the hand during the writing process.
The UGLee Pen has been scientifically designed to follow the contours of the hand, and in addition grips you instead of you having to hold tight to it. Both of these factors result in a comfort pen that supports comfortable writing.