Do I have carpal tunnel syndrome?

Carpal tunnel syndrome is caused by a pinched nerve in the wrist.  Since the nerve is being compressed, signals can't flow through the nerve.  This causes pain, tingling, and numbness in the hand.  The pinched nerve is sort of like stepping on a garden hose.  When you step on the hose, water can't flow out the end.  With a nerve, when normal signals can't get through, your body perceives that as tingling and numbness.

One of the most reliable ways to know if you have carpal tunnel is to ask:  "Do I wake up at night with my hands numb?"  Most people with carpal tunnel syndrome will wake up at night with numb fingers, and have to "shake it out" by shaking their hands.  Most people with carpal tunnel will also notice their fingers going numb when they drive or hold a phone.

If left untreated, carpal tunnel syndrome can cause permanent damage to the nerve in the wrist.  People with moderate or severe carpal tunnel syndrome might consider carpal tunnel release surgery.  Carpal tunnel release is an outpatient procedure designed to relieve pressure on the pinched nerve.

Carpal tunnel release is a common procedure.  In this video I perform a carpal tunnel release.  The skin is open and the surgical scalpel is used to release the ligament compressing the nerve underneath.