What is carpal tunnel syndrome?
“The carpal tunnel is a narrow passageway surrounded by bones and ligaments on the palm side of your hand. When the median nerve is compressed, the symptoms can include numbness, tingling and weakness in the hand and arm. The anatomy of your wrist, health problems and possibly repetitive hand motions can contribute to carpal tunnel syndrome” (Mayo Clinic, 2020).
What causes carpal tunnel syndrome?
“Carpal tunnel syndrome is caused by pressure on the median nerve. The median nerve runs from your forearm through a passageway in your wrist (carpal tunnel) to your hand. It provides sensation to the palm side of your thumb and fingers, except the little finger. It also provides nerve signals to move the muscles around the base of your thumb (motor function). Anything that squeezes or irritates the median nerve in the carpal tunnel space may lead to carpal tunnel syndrome. A wrist fracture can narrow the carpal tunnel and irritate the nerve, as can the swelling and inflammation caused by rheumatoid arthritis. Many times, there is no single cause of carpal tunnel syndrome. It may be that a combination of risk factors contributes to the development of the condition” (Mayo Clinic, 2020).
What are the symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome?
“You may notice tingling and numbness in your fingers or hand. Usually the thumb and index, middle or ring fingers are affected, but not your little finger. You might feel a sensation like an electric shock in these fingers. The sensation may travel from your wrist up your arm. These symptoms often occur while holding a steering wheel, phone or newspaper, or may wake you from sleep. Many people “shake out” their hands to try to relieve their symptoms. The numb feeling may become constant over time. You may experience weakness in your hand and drop objects. This may be due to the numbness in your hand or weakness of the thumb’s pinching muscles, which are also controlled by the median nerve” (Mayo Clinic, 2020).
How does one treat carpal tunnel syndrome?
Chiropractors can treat carpal tunnel syndrome with adjustments of the carpal bones along with passive modalities such as ultrasound therapy, electric muscle stimulation, ice therapy, manual therapy, and physical rehabilitation. “If the condition is diagnosed early, nonsurgical methods may help improve carpal tunnel syndrome. A splint that holds your wrist still while you sleep can help relieve nighttime symptoms of tingling and numbness. Even though you only wear the splint at night, it can also help prevent daytime symptoms. Nighttime splinting may be a good option if you’re pregnant because it does not involve the use of any medications to be effective.
Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), such as ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin IB, others), may help relieve pain from carpal tunnel syndrome in the short term. There isn’t evidence, however, that these drugs improve carpal tunnel syndrome. Your doctor may inject your carpal tunnel with a corticosteroid such as cortisone to relieve pain. Sometimes your doctor uses an ultrasound to guide these injections” (Mayo Clinic, 2020). Surgery is a last resort in the worst cases of carpal tunnel. You should only seek out surgery if your symptoms are severe or if other methods of treatment did not improve your symptoms. “The goal of carpal tunnel surgery is to relieve pressure by cutting the ligament pressing on the median nerve. The surgery may be performed with two different techniques [endoscopic surgery and open surgery]. [Through endoscopic surgery], your surgeon uses a telescope-like device with a tiny camera attached to it (endoscope) to see inside your carpal tunnel. Your surgeon cuts the ligament through one or two small incisions in your hand or wrist. Some surgeons may use ultrasound instead of a telescope to guide the tool that cuts the ligament. Endoscopic surgery may result in less pain than does open surgery in the first few days or weeks after surgery. [Through open surgery], your surgeon makes an incision in the palm of your hand over the carpal tunnel and cuts through the ligament to free the nerve” (Mayo Clinic, 2020).
Carpal tunnel syndrome. (2020, February 01). Retrieved November 05, 2020, from https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/carpal-tunnel-syndrome/symptoms-causes/syc-20355603
Carpal tunnel syndrome. (2020, February 01). Retrieved November 05, 2020, from https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/carpal-tunnel-syndrome/diagnosis-treatment/drc-20355608