In a previous blog we discussed the process of getting an appointment and going through an EMG to see if you have carpal tunnel. In my case the result was that I do have it in both wrists. There is also joint pain and arthritis present which would not go away should I opt to have carpal tunnel surgery. One option you have to help differentiate between what pain is joint and arthritis and what is carpal tunnel is a corticosteroid injection into the wrists.
The injection can momentarily give you back some of your grip and range of motion if you are not in too bad of shape The surgeon will be best able to discuss with you the potential difference that it can make depending on the severity of your arthritis vs carpal tunnel. The arthritis shows on x-ray and the carpal tunnel is measured by the EMG, so what's left is the joint pain which you have to pretty much learn how to adapt to and live with, it is just part of aging. If the corticosteroid injection works for you, it will give you an idea of how much of your pain and loss of strength, grip, and motion are carpal tunnel and what is most likely joint pain so that you and your surgeon can make a more educated decision on the necessity of the surgery.
The corticosteroids are injected into the connective tissue in order to relieve pressure on the median nerve. This is a temporary solution and not a fix. There may be some numbness and loss of strength or feeling in the hands within 30-60 minutes of the injection. Applying ice packs after the injection will help bring the feeling back faster. Treatment is going to vary from person to person by severity of your arthritis and carpal tunnel so think of this as a peek at a possibility and not a guide to the process. Should you need to begin the path to finding out if you have carpal tunnel, I wish you luck. If you have been on the journey, please share your experience with us in the comments below!