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Carpal Tunnel Syndrome - When To Call a Doctor

Call 911 or go to an emergency room immediately if you notice sudden loss of feeling in your arm.

Call your doctor if you:

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  • Have tingling, numbness, weakness, or pain in your fingers or hand that keeps coming back or that has not gone away after 2 weeks of home treatment.
  • Have gradually developed little or no feeling in your fingers or hand.
  • Cannot do simple hand movements, or you accidentally drop things.
  • Cannot pinch your thumb and index finger together, or your pinch is weak.
  • Cannot use your thumb normally (diminished thumb strength).
  • Have problems at work because of pain in your fingers or hand.

Watchful waiting

You can treat mild symptoms of wrist and hand pain or numbness at home. You may try home treatment for 1 to 2 weeks before calling your doctor.

Who to see

To check your symptoms, you may first want to consult the doctor who provides care for your other health conditions, especially conditions that may be contributing to carpal tunnel syndrome. (Health conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis, hypothyroidism, or diabetes can all lead to carpal tunnel syndrome.) Or, you may choose to see:

For more testing, see:

For treatment, see:

  • An orthopedic surgeon.
  • A physical or occupational therapist specializing in hands or overuse injuries.
  • A specialist who identifies workplace situations that contribute to repetitive-motion injuries (an ergonomist).
  • A hand surgeon.

For surgery, see:

To prepare for your appointment, see the topic Making the Most of Your Appointment.

WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

Last Updated: October 02, 2012
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.
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