A comprehensive diagnosis of nerve entrapment syndrome requires the expert help of a knowledgeable physician who will determine whether the symptoms are primary (a single condition) or secondary (related to a more severe condition). In order to accurately diagnose nerve entrapment syndrome, the following information may be required:
- Full medical history
- A complete clinical exam
- EMG (electrodiagnostic) studies
Most nerve entrapment syndrome diagnosis’ can be recognized through clinical methods. Common conditions such as ulnar cubital and carpal tunnel syndrome can benefit from EMG studies in order to confirm the diagnosis. In other cases, like those that involve the suprascapular nerve or wrist’s ulnar nerve, it offers valuable information.
MRI scans are commonly used to find out more information for patients that experience severe pain in their limbs (such as the shoulder or shoulder), have recurring symptoms despite former operations and may be experiencing a rare type of entrapment.
Treatment Options For Nerve Entrapment Syndrome
Symptom relief can significantly vary and largely depends on the patient. Treatments also vary since they depend on the cause and severity of the nerve compression. Many people find that they already feel better when they rest the affected area and avoid activities that cause symptoms to worsen. However, persistent and painful symptoms require a visit to your doctor. There are various treatments that can reduce the swelling of the tissue around the nerve.
In extreme cases, it can be necessary to surgically remove the material that is interfering with the nerve. These materials can include disc material, scar tissue and bone fragments. Other treatments include:
MRI scans are used to inject steroid, anti-scarring or anesthetic materials into the areas of potential nerve entrapment. Sometimes the injections help ease symptoms, though they are typically used to accurately diagnose the cause. Steroid injections can lessen swelling and aid in nerve recovery.
Physical therapy is ideal for nerve entrapment syndrome because it helps to strengthen and stretch the muscles.
NSAIDs (Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs) like ibuprofen or aspirin can lower swelling. Oral corticosteroids also have the same affect, though they reduce pain as well. Other narcotics can also be used to lower severe pain, though they are only recommended for short periods of time.
A splint makes it easier for muscles to relax and recover.
Surgery can be performed in order to decompress the nerves. It is often only required if the problem does not respond to other treatments.
Prevention Options For Nerve Entrapment Syndrome
Nerve entrapment syndrome is typically caused by
- Incorrect sitting for extended periods of time
- Improper wrist positioning
- Typing for extended periods of time
- Use of hand tools that vibrate or require strong grip (such as hardware tools)
- Playing instruments
- Crossing your legs for an extended period of time
- Carrying a heavy purse on your shoulder
There are several things you can do to prevent nerve entrapment syndrome from happening, such as:
- Stretch frequently to promote blood circulation
- Don’t carry anything too heavy (especially on your shoulders)
- Don’t wear anything that is too restricting
- Maintain correct posture and positioning (especially when you are using the computer)
- Take frequent breaks from computer use and engage in something else for a short period of time