Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

In this post I’m going to talk about something most people have experienced: Carpal Tunnel Syndrome. I hear every single day, “I have carpal tunnel there is nothing you can do”, or “You can’t do anything because it’s not the spine”. As a Chiropractor I am ashamed to hear these things, and this means we are not doing a good enough job on educating the public. Ok, no more ranting, let’s get into things, and the easiest and fastest way to do this is an outlined version.

  1. Anatomy: Within the Carpal Tunnel you have 9 tendons and 1 nerve: the median nerve. You have what’s called the flexor retinaculum that is a ligament that covers the carpal tunnel and that is what they release during surgery.
  2. What is Carpal Tunnel Syndrome (CTS)? Well the TRUE definition of CTS is numbness and tingling in the hand CAUSED by a pinched nerve in the wrist. I say true because it’s very likely that most people do not have TRUE CTS. CTS is the most common compressive neuropathy and occurs in females 3x higher.
  3. Entrapments: There are a variety of causes that must be differentiated from the good old fashioned pinched nerve in the wrist which is TRUE CTS. The nerves that go to your hand come from your neck. So figuring out where and why the nerve is affected is key.
  4. Causes: Tight Pec Minor (muscle in the chest), tight scalene’s (muscle in the neck), Hypothyroidism, Pregnancy (fluid buildup), tight pronator teres (muscle in the wrist), diabetes, trauma, repetitive motions, stenosis, disc issues, etc…
  5. So you can see that most of these are not TRUE CTS but giving symptoms LIKE CTS. There is also a diagnosis called “Double Crushed Syndrome” which is not widely talked about by traditional medicine. This is where the nerve gets damaged at the neck or somewhere close to the shoulder and causing irritation of a nerve and swelling along it’s pathway. 11% of people with cervical arthritis develop carpal tunnel syndrome!
  6. What you can do: Here is the best part! You can stretch your wrists by simply googling “Forearm Stretches” and even a wrist brace will help with the early stages because it keeps the wrist in a resting position so the nerve has as much room as possible inside the carpal tunnel. This will help TRUE CTS.
  7. IF simple stretches do not work, I would highly recommend getting a thorough chiropractic exam to figure out why you are having symptoms. Treatment in our office is safe, effective, and more affordable than surgery!