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3 Steps Used to Diagnose Carpal Tunnel Syndrome After an Indiana Car Accident

Guy DiMartino Oct. 31, 2014

Indiana car accident lawyer discusses the steps that a client's doctor will undergo to diagnose carpal tunnel syndrome following an accident.

You've been involved in a car, motorcycle, truck or slip and fall accident.A couple of weeks after the incident, you notice that your hand is falling asleep, you may be losing your grip strength or pain in your wrist and hand is waking you up at night. Do you have carpal tunnel syndrome? If so, how will your doctor diagnose the condition?

The three steps that your doctor will do to diagnose your carpal tunnel syndrome includes a (1) history; (2) physical exam; and (3) diagnostic testing.

It's important to provide a detailed history to your doctor. The medical literature and medical textbooks

teach that 90% of the diagnosis is made from talking to the patient and taking a detailed history. Based on the information the patient provides the doctor, the doctor will come up with a differential diagnosis and then do an exam and tests to confirm or exclude the different diagnoses.

You need to provide your doctor with the following:

  • A history of the event – how were you hurt? (i.e. “I tripped and fell on my right wrist”)

  • Your symptoms

  • Length of time that you have had the symptoms

  • If anything makes your complaints better or worse

  • Have you done anything for your complaints? Did it help?

  • Once the doctor has this information he/she will perform an exam.

When examining your wrist and hand, the doctor will do the following:

  • Inspect the area

  • Palpate the area – feel the area for muscle spasm, tenderness, atrophy of the muscles

  • Neurologic tests including reflexes, and the ability to perceive pain and light touch

  • Tinel's test – is a test where the doctor will use a reflex hammer or finger and tap along the carpal tunnel to see if he/she can reproduce your symptoms.

Once the physical examination is done your doctor may order a number of tests to confirm the diagnosis. These tests can include:

  • NCV-nerve conduction velocity- is a specialized nerve test that looks at the sensory component (the ability to feel) of the nerves in the wrist and hand.

  • EMG – electromyography – is a specialized nerve test that looks at the motor component (ability to fire muscles) of the nerves in the wrist and hand.

  • MRI – magnetic resonance imaging – is a specialized imaging study that can look at the structures of the wrist and hand including the carpal tunnel.

  • Lab tests – sometimes underlying medical conditions such as hypothyroid syndrome or diabetes can mimic carpal tunnel syndrome so your doctor may order a blood tests to confirm or rule out these conditions

As you can see, the diagnosis of carpal tunnel syndrome can be complex and requires a number of steps. The most important step is providing your doctor with a complete and accurate history so he/she can do the appropriate testing to diagnose the condition. Without a proper diagnosis, the carpal tunnel syndrome patient will not get proper treatment.

If you believe that your carpal tunnel syndrome is because of an accident or injury, contact our Northwest Indiana personal injury lawyer or fill out the internet consultation form on the right hand side of the screen.