I heard that a successful outcome from treatment for something like carpal tunnel syndrome isn't always complete disappearance of pain or symptoms. How is this so?
When deciding on a particular treatment for a particular problem, such as carpal tunnel syndrome, doctors look at what the ultimate goal is for each patient. Unfortunately, complete and total resolution of a medical problem isn't always possible and sometimes doctors are looking at the best possible improvement.
For example, if you are going for carpal tunnel syndrome relief, it's important for your doctor to know what you want out of it. Do you work or participate in a activity that you use your hands a lot and you want to get back into it as soon as possible? If this is the case, you may be someone who should be getting surgery, rather than waiting and trying something else first.
If you can wait and your pain and symptoms aren't severe enough to warrant surgery, your doctor may want to try more conservative approaches, such as splinting and medications.
Usually, when checking to see how effective the treatment is, your doctor would look at how happy you are and what you are able to accomplish after the treatment. Some people may have complete resolution and be completely pain free forever. Others may have complete pain relief for a few months but then have some pain return later. However, if the pain was disabling before and not later on, those patients may be willing to accept that as a successful outcome of surgery.
Brent Graham, MD. Nonsurgical Treatment of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome. In The Journal of Hand Surgery. March 2009. Vol. 34. No. 3. Pp. 531-534.
*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.