Carpal tunnel test for carpal tunnel syndrome hand pain
Hand pain is no laughing matter; I’ve been there. When it’s severe, people look at you funny when you say, for example, “I feel like cutting my hand off.” They have no idea what it’s like. But before you can do anything about it, first ask, “What condition do I have?” Once you know, you can treat it correctly. Not surprisingly, most hand pain in the USA is due to carpal tunnel syndrome. The NIH provides several key facts about carpal tunnel. Most alarming, it estimates that one in ten people will get carpal tunnel syndrome at some point in their life. Happily, it’s not hard to diagnose. Thus, if you have hand or finger pain, perform this simple carpal tunnel test at home. It’s the same test doctors use their office.
The symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome
All data about carpal tunnel syndrome describes several main symptoms. These are pain, numbness, tingling, puffiness, soreness, pins-and-needles, burning, weakness or clumsiness in the fingers and hand. These sensations do not affect the little finger. And they are more severe in the thumb. Sometimes it’s called “carpal tunnel thumb”.
It is likely you first noticed symptoms while at a computer workstation. Maybe you already tried a carpal tunnel prevention program for more intense symptoms. You may have bought by a carpal tunnel computer mouse and keyboard. These are specially designed instruments for people with carpal tunnel hand pain. Or maybe you even wear a carpal tunnel brace during the day or at night (or both) because you have pain when moving your wrist.
Perhaps (as much as the terrible symptoms) another motivation is the thought of avoiding carpal tunnel surgery. The actual surgery, including the carpal tunnel surgery recovery time, are significant commitments of time, money, inconvenience and pain.
Doctors use a simple and accurate carpal tunnel test in their office to verify you have this condition. A comprehensive carpal tunnel syndrome test comprises three separate tests, consisting of the Phalen, Tinel and Durkan tests.
Perform each carpal tunnel test below
This exam list is how doctors perform carpal tunnel tests. You can do them on yourself.
If you answer “Yes” to any of the following three tests, then usually you have carpal tunnel syndrome.
Phalen carpal tunnel test:
Holding your fingers straight, flex your wrist gently and as far as possible. That means to bend your wrist forward and bring your fingers as close to your wrist joint as you can. Hold this position for 1 minute. Do your symptoms get worse or do you feel numbness in your hand or fingers?
Tinel carpal tunnel test:
With your hand held straight up, use your other hand to lightly tap the skin over your wrist-crease. Tap firmly left to right, and then back again. Do it several times. Does the tapping result in tingling or pins-and-needles in your hand or fingers?
Durkan carpal tunnel test:
With your hand straight, and using your opposite thumb, apply firm pressure to the entire width of your wrist-crease for 30 seconds. Relax for one minute. Then apply firm pressure just above your wrist crease (on the palm of your hand). Hold it for 30 seconds. Do either of these pressures make your symptoms appear or get worse, especially causing numbness in your hand or fingers?
If you answered “No” to all of the above questions, then usually you have wrist tendinitis. You can check this by using two fingers of your opposite hand to tap your flexor tendons just below your wrist-crease. These tendons are the ropy structures on the palm side of your forearm. Firmly tap each tendon along its length, up and down your forearm, and halfway to your elbow. Tap several times up and down on each tendon. Then tap briskly all over your forearm. The idea is to reproduce your symptoms or make them worse. If that happens, then you likely have wrist tendinitis instead of carpal tunnel syndrome.