Carpal Tunnel – Pain Free in One Day! 

By Paul P. Paterson, M.D.

Are you experiencing pain, tingling, or numbness in your hand that interferes with your normal activities and awakens you from sleep? Increased hours spent on computer keyboards and digital devices, especially now during the pandemic, can result in carpal tunnel syndrome or CTS, a relatively common and painful condition that can cause incapacitating numbness, pain, and tingling in the hand or arm when a major nerve of the hand, called the median nerve, is compressed in the wrist.

CTS affects between four and 10 million middle-aged or older people in the U.S., with women diagnosed three times more frequently than men. 

What is the carpal tunnel? The carpal tunnel is a narrow, rigid passageway that forms in the wrist on the palm side of the hand, beneath the skin’s surface. Eight small wrist bones form three sides of the tunnel and the transverse carpal ligament forms the roof. When inflammation or a thickening of the transverse carpal ligament occurs within the canal, it puts pressure on the nerve, which decreases blood flow to the nerve, and leads to pain, tingling, and numbness.

What is the median nerve? When compression occurs, it affects the median nerve, which begins in the neck and runs through the arm. The median nerve passes through the carpal tunnel at the wrist and goes into the hand, providing feeling to the palm side of the thumb, index, middle, and part of the ring fingers. The nerve also controls some small muscles at the base of the thumb.

What are CTS symptoms? Individuals may experience hand weakness, tingling, and numbness when holding a phone, book, newspaper, steering wheel, or any activity involving the hands. Since there are other compression issues that can occur in the hand and arms that cause similar pain and tingling symptoms, it is important to see a doctor for a confirmed diagnosis. 

When should I see a doctor? Contact your physician if pain and tingling are affecting your activities and sleeping patterns. Various nonsurgical remedies and therapies may help. If left untreated, any condition affecting nerve function can cause permanent nerve and muscle damage.  

Paul P. Paterson, M.D., a hand and upper extremity specialist, treats injuries and conditions ranging from the fingertips to the shoulder. He also offers a microinvasive surgical technique not being performed anywhere else in the region. The procedure allows patients to return home on the same day as their initial office visit. Dr. Paterson practices at Erie County Medical Center’s Ambulatory Care Center at 462 Grider Street in Buffalo. 

Learn more about his groundbreaking CTS outpatient procedure at where you can watch Dr. Paterson discuss the procedure and take a CTS assessment quiz. Call 716-500-HAND (4263) for an appointment and see him explain the procedure on live television on Wednesday evening January 20 at 8 pm or on Saturday, January 23 at noon on WBBZ-TV Channel 67 over Dish Network, or on Channel 5 on Verizon Fios, Spectrum, and Dish.