Carpal Tunnel Syndrome: Confusing and Debilitating, but Treatable

By Dr. Molly Casey

What You Need to Know About Carpal Tunnel

Carpal tunnel syndrome can be confusing and oftentimes debilitating. If you’ve ever had wrist and hand pain along with tingling and numbness, you quickly begin to realize just how important normal healthy wrist and hand function is. Full function of our extremities, including the wrists, is necessary for our life and work, too. Let’s dig into one of the most common issues, carpal tunnel syndrome.

The Carpal Tunnel

The carpal tunnel is a narrow pathway on the palm side of the wrist. It’s made up of numerous small wrist bones and ligaments. Tendons and nerves travel from the forearm through the tunnel and into the hand. The median nerve controls sensation and movement in the thumb and the first three fingers.

Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

Because the passageway from the forearm into the hand is so narrow, the contents can easily be negatively affected and cause symptoms. Any swelling of the tendons or ligaments can put pressure on numerous tissues, particularly the median nerve. This can cause pins, needles, numbness, burning and/or pain. It can also cause difficulty while trying to properly grasp objects.

Causes

The most frequent cause of carpal tunnel syndrome is from overuse injury. These injuries are caused by engaging in the same motion repeatedly over a length of time, often with poor structural mechanics. Imagine you work at a computer and your keyboard is not totally level; your wrists are at an ever-so-slight angle while either flexed or extended, and then you type for hours and hours on end. While the small bit of flexion or extension for a minute or two a few times a day won’t make or break the health of your wrist, doing this for long periods of time can absolutely create a big shift in the degradation and health of the wrist and its function.

Treatment

One of the most important things you can do if you have a carpal tunnel diagnosis is to go to your local chiropractor and get your cervical spinal joints checked for proper range of motion. The median nerve originates from the spinal cord. The function of the muscles associated with the tendons that run through the tunnel is based upon the nervous system and nerves that exit the neck. It’s imperative to make sure that the cervical spinal joints are moving optimally for the highest function of the arm, forearm, the muscles, and tendons associated.

What is often thought to be carpal tunnel syndrome can actually be a problem originating from higher in the arm or even in the neck. In addition, manipulation of the shoulder, elbow and wrist can restore proper motion to joints that can otherwise restrict the nerve as well. Lastly, wrist manipulations provided by the chiropractor can provide space through proper alignment, thereby allowing room for the nerve and the tendons to settle and the joint to move more smoothly.

Carpal tunnel can be debilitating, particularly if you are at a computer for work. Proper wrist health is important and part of a whole, healthy you. If you’ve had wrist issues, definitely stop into The Joint Chiropractic and let the doctors help you help yourself on the road to recovery.

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