Do I Need Nerve Studies If I Have Carpal Tunnel Syndrome? The short answer is: NO!
What is a nerve study?
If you have carpal tunnel syndrome, many doctors order a test called a “nerve study.” These are also called “EMGs” or “electrodiagnostic studies.” Do not worry about the name, just know that it is a test performed by a doctor or other trained medical provider. It looks closely at the different nerves in your arm to see if there are any problems with the “signals” being sent along the nerve. These include the signals being sent from your brain to your hand, and also the signals going in
the other direction, from your hand to your brain. Think of the nerve like an electrical cord sending signals back and forth.
Nerve studies usually take about 30 minutes to perform, and sadly can be very uncomfortable. It requires multiple needles
inserted through your skin and deep into your muscles with many electrical shocks along the length of your arm.
If they are painful, why do doctors still order nerve studies?
There are still some hand doctors and hand surgeons that require nerve studies to prove that you have carpal tunnel syndrome. Because of this, many doctors still order these studies. In some situations, nerve studies can be very helpful. For example, sometimes it is hard even for an experienced doctor to tell exactly what your problem is. In the past, nerve studies were the only way to test for carpal tunnel syndrome.
However, most recent evidence shows that for carpal tunnel syndrome, nerve studies are not important or necessary to get.
For example, Raleigh North Carolina Carpal Tunnel Specialist Johnny T. Nelson uses a special scoring system called the CTS-6, which is equal to or better than nerve studies at detecting carpal tunnel syndrome. The CTS-6 includes a few simple questions about your symptoms and a few physical exam findings. If you have carpal tunnel, the CTS-6 is part of your visit with Dr. Nelson, and takes only 1-2 minutes to complete.
Dr. Nelson also performs in-office ultrasound.
There is new evidence that simply measuring the swelling of the carpal tunnel nerve at the wrist is EVEN BETTER than nerve studies at showing carpal tunnel syndrome. In office ultrasound
- Only takes Dr. Nelson about 30 seconds to perform
- Is COMPLETELY painless
- Is a FRACTION of the cost of nerve studies!
You have carpal tunnel syndrome? Do you wake up at night and shake your hands out? Do you drop things during the day because you cannot feel your fingers well? If so, you probably do not need expensive and painful nerve studies. You DO need a visit with Dr. Johnny T. Nelson, MD, Raleigh North Carolina Carpal Tunnel Expert! Call 919-872-5296 to make your visit today!