Skip to Content

Carpal Tunnel Syndrome and Nerve Tests

Topic Overview

Carpal tunnel syndrome can usually be diagnosed with a medical history and a physical exam. But sometimes nerve tests are used to check median nerve function when symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome are present. The nerve conduction velocity (NCV) test measures the speed of electricity as it moves through a nerve. An electromyogram (EMG) records the electrical activity of nerves and muscles, which shows nerve or muscle disorders.

If you have carpal tunnel symptoms, nerve tests may or may not be appropriate for you. Before you have nerve tests, think about the following:

  • Nerve tests aren't helpful in every case. A few people with carpal tunnel syndrome have normal nerve test results.
  • When work-related carpal tunnel syndrome is evaluated, nerve tests are usually done.
  • Nerve tests are often completed before surgery is done. Nerve tests may confirm a diagnosis and thus prevent unneeded surgery. If there is nerve damage, surgery may be considered to prevent permanent damage.

Credits

ByHealthwise Staff
Primary Medical ReviewerKathleen Romito, MD - Family Medicine
Specialist Medical ReviewerHerbert von Schroeder, MD, MSc, FRCSC - Hand and Microvascular Surgery

Current as ofMarch 21, 2017

This information does not replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise, Incorporated disclaims any warranty or liability for your use of this information. Your use of this information means that you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. Learn how we develop our content.

© 1995-2018 Healthwise, Incorporated. Healthwise, Healthwise for every health decision, and the Healthwise logo are trademarks of Healthwise, Incorporated.

Symptom Checker

Feeling under the weather?

Use our interactive symptom checker to evaluate your symptoms and determine appropriate action or treatment.

Symptom Checker

Decision Points

Our interactive Decision Points guide you through making key health decisions by combining medical information with your personal information.

You'll find Decision Points to help you answer questions about:

Interactive Tools

Get started learning more about your health!

Our Interactive Tools can help you make smart decisions for a healthier life. You'll find personal calculators and tools for health and fitness, lifestyle checkups, and pregnancy.

Health Library