Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
What is Carpal Tunnel?
Carpal tunnel syndrome is a common condition that causes pain, numbness, and tingling in the hand when the median nerve is squeezed or compressed as it travels through the wrist. Carpal tunnel is categorized as a repetitive stress injury (RSI). This category of injuries is caused by repetitive motion, such as typing or assembly line work, which causes pain and injury over time.
Carpal tunnel syndrome occurs when the tunnel becomes narrowed or when tissues surrounding the flexor tendons swell, putting pressure on the median nerve. These tissues are called the synovium, or synovial membrane. The synovial membrane lubricates the tendons, making it easier to move your fingers. When the synovium swells, it takes up space in the carpal tunnel and, over time, crowds the nerve. This abnormal pressure on the nerve is what causes pain, numbness, tingling, and weakness in the hand.
If diagnosed and treated early on, symptoms can often be relieved with simple measures like wearing a wrist splint or avoiding certain activities.
However, if the pressure on the median nerve continues it can lead to nerve damage and worsening symptoms.
What are the symptoms?
- Numbness or tingling in your thumb, index and middle fingers that comes and goes
- Discomfort in your wrist and the palm of your hand
- Electric shock in your sensation in your fingers
- Numbness or tingling radiating up the arm
- Weakness in your hand and a tendency to drop objects
The median nerve originates in the cervical spine. A chiropractor can investigate and locate any potential interference in your spinal vertebrae that may be causing compression of the nerves. Chiropractic methods of treatment can include gentle manipulation of the wrist, elbow and cervical spine.Ultrasound therapy is also commonly used for treatment. Ultrasound uses sound waves that penetrate deep into body tissue to relax muscles, alleviate pain, and reduce inflammation.