Question:My doctor wants to inject my wrist to find out if I have carpal tunnel syndrome. This is supposed to be a diagnostic test and the treatment. How does it work?
Answer:Corticosteroid injection is a way to stop the painful symptoms and find out what's causing them. The physician injects a small amount of lidocaine (an anesthetic) combined with a steroid. The practitioner tries to avoid using too much anesthetic, which can cause complete blockage of the nerve.
The injection serves two purposes. First it provides an antiinflammatory to the area. This helps reduce any swelling that might be putting pressure on the nerve. With a small amount of anesthetic, painful symptoms can also be stopped.
Injecting the nerve or tendon can cause an immediate increase in painful symptoms and should be avoided. Let your doctor know right away if the injection is painful or causes numbness. He or she will pull the needle back out and redirect it to a better spot.
If the injection works, your symptoms will go away. This tells you that the nerve is impaired. The exact cause of the nerve disturbance isn't identified by using steroid injections. Other diagnostic tests may be needed to rule out conditions such as diabetes, tumors, or a thyroid condition.Evan Bilstrom, MD et al. Injection of the Carpal and Tarsal Tunnels. In The Journal of Musculoskeletal Medicine. November 2007. Vol. 24. No. 11. Pp. 472-474.
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