Many people experience pain, tingling, or numbness in their hand or fingers. This may signal carpal tunnel syndrome. Sometimes the symptoms can be so severe it wakes you up at night. The symptoms can also sometimes be in your neck, shoulder, upper arm or elbow.
What causes the pain? First, a little background on the physical mechanics of the wrist. The carpel (wrist) bones form a tunnel-like structure – the carpel tunnel – thru which pass nine tendons and one nerve – the median nerve. CTS (carpel tunnel syndrome) occurs when the median nerve is irritated. People who do repetitive tasks – housewives, secretaries, meat cutters, assembly line workers, carpenters, musicians, and computer users are susceptible to CTS.
The medical approach to treat CTS is to relieve the pain by wrist immobilization, ice or drugs (diuretics or anti- inflammatory). If the symptoms persist, corticosteroids may be injected into the crease in the hand near the wrist which may provide relief but has a high relapse rate (and many side effects). Surgery may be resorted to with hand surgeons performing over 1000,000 operations a year for CTS. Recovery from such surgery may take from 6 months to 10 years. And there is no guarantee this will fix your problem.
However, there are options. A chiropractor can examine you to ensure that your spinal column is free from nerve pressure between the arms and wrists and nerves in your neck. The relationship between spinal health and CTS has been documented. I treat patients with CTS by doing the following: Chiropractic adjustments to relieve irritation of the nerves to your arms and hands, myofascial therapy to break up scar tissue in the forearm that has caused the muscle to be weaker, and acupuncture for pain relief. There are options besides surgery for CTS!