Amy Nguyen, DC goes over the signs and symptoms associated with carpal tunnel syndrome. She gives a thorough explanation of the anatomy of this condition and addresses various causes. She also goes over several treatment options and gives an overview of Airrosti’s non-invasive treatment method.
WHAT IS CARPAL TUNNEL SYNDROME?
The median nerve is an appendage of the nervous system that provides feeling and movement to the hand, thumb, index, and middle finger. This nerve travels along the palm-side of the hand through a narrow passageway called the carpal tunnel.
The carpal tunnel is a small canal made of bones, tendons, and ligaments, that act as a channel for the median nerve to travel through the wrist into the hand. Because of its confining space, the median nerve can be pinched or irritated, leading to a chronic, painful condition known as carpal tunnel syndrome.
SYMPTOMS OF CARPAL TUNNEL SYNDROME
Symptoms usually start gradually, with frequent pain, tingling, itching, or numbness in the palm of the hand and the fingers. Carpal tunnel syndrome specifically affects the thumb, index, and middle fingers. Some carpal tunnel sufferers say their fingers feel weak or swollen, even though little or no swelling is visibly apparent.
The symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome often first appear in one or both hands during the night. You may wake up feeling the need to “shake out” the hand or wrist. As symptoms worsen, you may feel tingling during the day accompanied by decreased grip strength.
CARPAL TUNNEL SYNDROME CAUSES AND RISK FACTORS
Despite its name, carpal tunnel syndrome is rarely caused by an actual defect in the carpal tunnel (the wrist bones and connective tissue that house the median nerve, tendons, arteries, and veins), but rather adhesions on the fascia surrounding this area.
Below are common risk factors associated with carpal tunnel syndrome:
- Carpal tunnel syndrome is more common among people with jobs that require repetitive hand or wrist movements, like writing or typing.
- Women are three times more likely than men to develop carpal tunnel syndrome.
- The dominant hand is usually affected first and produces the most severe pain.
TRADITIONAL TREATMENT OPTIONS FOR CARPAL TUNNEL SYNDROME
Often traditional treatments only focus on the symptoms and fail to treat the true cause of the syndrome. Some of the current procedures offered for carpal tunnel are:
- Night/day braces
- Cortisone shots
- Restraint from activity
- Carpal tunnel release surgery
These treatments seldom address what is irritating the median nerve. Although symptoms may improve with traditional treatment, more than 50% of cases eventually require surgery.
Carpal tunnel release is one of the most common surgical procedures in the United States. Many patients require surgery on both hands. Surgery is often successful, but full recovery can take months. Some patients struggle with infection, nerve damage, stiffness, and pain at the scar. Occasionally the wrist loses strength because the carpal ligament is cut.
Patients are encouraged to undergo physical therapy after surgery to restore wrist strength. Some patients may need to adjust job duties or even change jobs after recovery from surgery. It is also possible for the condition to reoccur even after successful surgery.
HOW AIRROSTI CAN HELP: DIAGNOSING AND TREATING CARPAL TUNNEL SYNDROME
Unlike the traditional approach to carpal tunnel syndrome, Airrosti’s approach is designed to effectively address the root cause of carpal tunnel syndrome. Our providers diagnose and treat pain at the source, with hands-on manual therapy and customized exercises to strengthen the wrist and improve mobility.
Give us a call at 800-404-6050 or click here to schedule your appointment today.
Reviewed by Casey Crisp, Doctor of Chiropractic