What is the Carpal Tunnel and the syndrome associated with it?
Carpal Tunnel Syndrome is a condition that creates pain, numbness, and dysfunction in the wrist, hand, thumb, and fingers. The pain is generated by tension or pressure on a major nerve called the median nerve as it passes through the wrist and into the hand. The nerve is surround by the bones of the wrist (carpals) on the bottom, and a collection of muscular tendons on top. This structure of bones and tendons around the nerve is referred to as the carpal tunnel. As the bones shift out of place or the tendons experience excessive tension, the nerve can become irritated. The symptoms associated with this are referred to as Carpal Tunnel Syndrome.
I have pain in my wrist, hand, and fingers. Is it Carpal Tunnel Syndrome?
Anytime there is pain in this area, especially chronic pain over time, seeing a specialist who can properly diagnose your symptoms is extremely important! It is also important to understand that these symptoms can be associated with other problems, some of which have more simple and less invasive solutions than surgery. According to a 2009 research article in the Journal of Clinical Engineering, around 50% of the carpal tunnel surgeries performed fail to deliver results. This should lead anyone with wrist, finger, and hand pain to search for possible alternatives.
What other options should I explore?
There are a small number of conditions that are associated with, or causative factors of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome that would both negate surgery or cause it to fail:
1) Fluid Changes: Often times, changes in the fluid that leads to a build up of pressure in the wrist, can cause symptoms associated with Carpal Tunnel Syndrome. This build up is often referred to as edema. Addressing the cause of edema can often be accomplished without surgical intervention.
2) Obesity: Increases in weight gain not only lead to a reduction in joint space, but also increase the risk for inflammation and slow the speed of recovery, making nerve irritability more likely.
3) Medication: Sometimes a new medication can lead to unknown side effects, including possible symptoms in the hand, wrist, thumbs, and fingers.
4) Thyroid issues: Hypothyroid issues have recently been tied to an increased risk of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome, although the verdict is still out as to why this is.
5) Muscle tension, posture, and stress: Probably a bigger cause than any of the above, general muscular and fascial tension can lead to pain, numbness, and irritation in the hand, thumb, fingers, and wrist, mimicking Carpal Tunnel Syndrome.
How can Body Heal help?
While getting diagnosis is a great first step, many people prefer to rule out most approachable options first! Here at Body Heal, we have helped countless clients find relief from these symptoms, and lead those who didn’t in the right direction. Through a free consultation, we can often utilize assessments and special tests to decide whether or not bodywork is a good place to start for answers. Consultations are at no charge, so you have nothing to lose and potential relief to gain! We look forward to helping you find pain relief soon.