Understanding Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
Apr 04, 2011 12:37PM
● By Dr. Stephen H. Canuel
For some, Carpal Tunnel Syndrome is simply a poorly understood wrist injury that can prevent one from working, or a wrist injury that makes using one’s hands very painful.
To truly understand, let’s look at the anatomy that makes up the tunnel. Across the back of the wrist eight small irregular bones (called carpals) form a letter C. Closing the circle on the inner-side of the wrist is a tough ligament. This is what creates the carpal tunnel which is about the size of your pinky. Nine tendons pass through this narrow tunnel along with the soft median nerve. The median nerve, which runs from the neck through the arm, down to the wrist and through this narrow tunnel to the fingers, (thumb, index, middle, and half of the ring finger) is soft and is easily compressed.
So, Carpal Tunnel Syndrome is a condition in which the median nerve becomes irritated and swells. As the nerve swells, it causes pressure in the tunnel. This increased pressure then further irritates the median nerve. This causes more swelling and the condition progressively worsens.
As the condition worsens, the sufferer may have difficulty grasping or picking up small objects. Their grip may become weakened and clumsy. They may experience pain, burning and tingling numbness in the wrist and hand. At this point it may be too painful to continue working. Unless corrective steps are taken, the nerve may be damaged to the extent that there can be partial or even complete loss of motion and strength in the afflicted hand(s).
One needs to understand the construction of the arm, hand and wrist and their relationship to the neck to know how to prevent and correct these problems. If the median nerve is irritated in the neck and the wrist, the syndrome is called Double Crush in which pressure and irritation is felt on the nerve in two places. Authorities believe that many people with conditions diagnosed as Carpal Tunnel Syndrome have, in fact, Double Crush Syndrome. Double Crush Syndrome gives the same symptoms as Carpal Tunnel Syndrome, and may be an explanation for some of the failures following wrist-only surgery.
Rehabilitation through a combination of physical measures is a more logical approach. This would include correcting spinal misalignments in the neck, misalignments of the wrist bones (without surgery), reducing spasms in related muscles, trigger point therapy, stretches and exercises through chiropractic treatment.
Chiropractic treatment, which directly releases pressure on the nerves, is highly beneficial. Due to the extensive education in problems with the nervous system and muscle structure of the body, a Chiropractor is uniquely qualified to correct this type of condition relieving pain and discomfort. For a comprehensive and personal treatment program, each person must be individually evaluated to determine the cause of their problem.
Dr. Stephen H. Canuel has a wellness clinic and also practices chiropractic. His office is located at 8255 N. Wickham Rd. (next to the Brevard Zoo). He accepts same day appointments and is a provider for most insurance plans as well as offers affordable care plans for those uninsured. His office number is 321-751-2333.