Home > Blog > Hand Therapy > Carpal Tunnel Syndrome > How To Diagnose Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

How To Diagnose Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

The most standard diagnosing system for carpal tunnel syndrome is the ElectroMyoGraphical Testing (EMG Test), which shows the conductivity (how active/effective) is the firing conduction of the median nerve, which is the main nerve affected by carpal tunnel syndrome

Related article: Read more on carpal tunnel syndrome and hand therapy for it here

Manual testings include:

  • Phalen's Test - performed by flexing the wrist as much as possible but gently, and holding this position for 60 seconds to see if the symptoms manifests. If symptoms manifests, the phalen's test is marked as positive. The quicker the manifestation, the more advanced/severe the stage is. In most advanced cases, the numbness and tingling onset begins with the use of the affected hand during any activities, such as picking out coins, fruits, buttoning - anything that requires the use of the hands.

  • Tinel's Test - tap on the distribution points of the median nerve (thumb to the half of the ring finger) and if there is a presence of tingling, the tinel sign is noted as positive.

  • Durkan's Test - compress the carpal area, compressing the carpal tunnel at the palm over the nerve for about 30 seconds until symptoms are elicited.

to further confirm carpal tunnel syndrome.

However, if patient reports or complains of pain, that will possibly rule out carpal tunnel syndrome, because carpal tunnel syndrome is mainly characterized by the presence of:

  • tingling
  • pins and needles
  • numbness
  • lack of strength
  • lack of dexterity
  • heaviness

how common is carpal tunnel syndrome?

Carpal tunnel syndrome is a very common hand condition that can affect anyone and everyone.

However, most of the time, women are three times as likely to be affected than men (ratio of 3:1). Most of the time, patients who develop this hand condition is more than 40-45 years old.

The #1 cause of carpal tunnel syndrome is

  • gripping activities (sustained or repeated)
  • wrist flexion activities (sustained or repeated)

So most of the time, people who do a lot of clothes wringing, clothes drying, carrying heavy bags, gripping, baking, dentistry, watch makers, hobbyists etc.

In some situations, patients may develop carpal tunnel syndrome due to specific health conditions, such as:

  • diabetes
  • pregnancy
  • etc

Prevention of carpal tunnel syndrome

  1. take regular micro-breaks every hour to stretch and allow blood to circulate and body parts to rest
  2. setting up your task and work area to be more you-friendly to prevent awkward postures and positions
  3. utilizing ergonomic equipment such as wrist rest, mouse pad
  4. keyboard solutions (digital pen, voice recognition and dictation software
  5. early treatment like taking turmeric (anti-inflammatory), omega-3 fatty acids, and B vitamins to improve and decrease inflammation

Read on Carpal Tunnel Syndrome and Hand Therapy