Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

Glossary: Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

Here are definitions of medical terms related to Carpal Tunnel Syndrome.

Carpal tunnel: A small passage located below the wrist at the heel of the hand through which the major nerve to the hand, the median nerve, as well as tendons that bend the fingers pass

Cold laser therapy: Noninvasive procedure that uses low-energy (“cold”) laser light to penetrate the skin and soft tissue

Dexterity: Skill and ease in use of the hands

Endoscopic surgery: A procedure in which fiber-optic tools are passed through a very small incision to divide the transverse carpal ligament; also called keyhole surgery

Ergonomics: The science of fitting a job and job-related equipment to individual human physical and psychological characteristics

Fibromyalgia: A fatiguing, chronic condition of the muscles and connective tissue in which very specific trigger points on the body are painful

Ligament: A band of fibrous tissue connecting bones, cartilage, and other structures

Median nerve: Conducts impulses from the brain, down the arm and to the fingers

Musculoskeletal: Pertaining to the muscles, joints and bones

Neurologist: A specialist in disorders of the central nervous system

Noninvasive: Any procedure or treatment that does not invade the body by way of insertion or incision

NSAID: Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug

Occupational medicine: The practice concerned with injury and illness in the workplace

Orthopedist: A specialist in structural disorders of the skeleton, joints, muscles, fascia, and other supporting or connective tissue such as cartilage, tendons and ligaments.

Phalen test: Diagnostic test in which the wrist is bent forward for 30 to 60 seconds to see if CTS symptoms result.

Physiatrist: A specialist in physical medicine

Raynaud’s disease: Vascular condition in which the fingers become cold and pale when blood vessels are constricted upon exposure to cold

Repetitive strain injury (RSI): An injury to the upper extremities resulting from prolonged overuse, pressure, force, vibration, or awkward or constrained posture

Rheumatoid arthritis: A systemic (affecting the whole body) form of arthritis believed to stem from an abnormality in the immune system. Characterized by inflammation of the joints and other symptoms. Unlike osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis is not caused by wear and tear on the joint cartilage.

Rheumatologist: A specialist in rheumatic diseases

Splint: A device that immobilizes a joint

Tendon: Fibrous tissue connecting muscles to bones and other parts

Tinel test: A diagnostic test in which the wrist is pressed or bent over the area of the median nerve to see if the tingling characteristic of CTS results

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