Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
What is Carpal Tunnel?
Carpal Tunnel Syndrome (CTS) is a common condition that can be classified as a ‘repetitive stress injury’ (RSI). This condition occurs when there is pressure on the median nerve, one of the major nerves to the hand. The carpal tunnel is a narrow passageway in the wrist which protects the median nerve and flexor tendons that bend the fingers and thumb. When the tunnel becomes narrowed or tissues surrounding the tunnel swell, this puts pressure on the median nerve which is pressure sensitive.
Most cases can be caused by a combination of factors. These factors being:
- Repetitive motion/hand use
- Hand and wrist position
- Health conditions: diabetes, alcoholism, Vitamin B12 deficiency, tumors, other
- Pain or tingling – may travel up forearm to shoulder
- Occasional shock-like pain/sensations that sprawling to thumb and index, middle, and/or ring fingers
- Numbness, burning, tingling, pain in thumb, index, middle or ring fingers
- Weakness and clumsiness in hand – difficult to perform fine movements such as buttoning a shirt
- Dropping things due to weakness, numbness or not being aware of where your hand is in space (proprioception)
Physical examinations will be performed by our chiropractor, in conjunction with other examinations such as x-rays, ultrasounds or MRI scans, as well as nerve conduction tests.
Our chiropractor may use include chiropractic care of the wrist, arm, and upper spine (as misalignment in the spine can and does contribute to symptoms of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome). The use of ultrasound therapy to help reduce edema of the median nerve sheath and surrounding soft tissues.
We had a 62 year old woman come in presenting in both hands Carpal Tunnel Syndrome. She first noticed that her right hand was numb and undertook blood tests and ultrasounds of the right wrist. Upon assessment, her first 3 digits on the right hand were numb. Her doctor gave her a referral for nerve conduction test. Her right hand was given Phalen’s test and resulted in a positive result for Carpal Tunnel Syndrome. She began to notice the same symptoms in her left hand, but not as severe.
For her left hand, within 2 weeks her symptoms had totally ceased. Within 4 weeks of working with our chiropractor, she noticed a 75% improvement of her right hand digits. By 6 weeks, she had noticed a 90% improvement in her right hand.