Houston Methodist. Leading Medicine

Hand FAQ


Is pain a good measure of how bad my carpal tunnel syndrome is? Everyday I rate my pain about an 8 on a scale from 0 (no pain) to 10 (worst pain). Does this mean the problem is severe?


In a recent study of men and women with carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS) pain level was not able to diagnose or predict a CTS problem. The same measuring tool used with you was used in this study. It's called the visual analogue scale (VAS). Three ratings were given:

  • worst pain over the last 24 hours
  • least pain over last 24 hours
  • current pain

    Each patient had the nerves and muscles tested for CTS. Although pain wasn't accurate in predicting who had CTS, there were several other tests that were helpful. One of these was the flick test. A positive flick test occurs when pain and symptoms go away after shaking the hand(s) as if to shake down the mercury in a thermometer. Age over 45 and being overweight are also good predictors of CTS.

    LtCol Robert S. Wainner, PT, PhD, et al. Development of a Clinical Prediction Rule for the Diagnosis of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome. In Archives of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation. April 2005. Vol. 86. No. 4. Pp. 609-618.

    *Disclaimer:* The information contained herein is compiled from a variety of sources. It may not be complete or timely. It does not cover all diseases, physical conditions, ailments or treatments. The information should NOT be used in place of visit with your healthcare provider, nor should you disregard the advice of your health care provider because of any information you read in this topic.
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