Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
Did you know that just as nerves can become pinched in your back by the bones in your spine, the nerves that run through your wrist can also be compressed and irritated by the carpal bones in your wrist? (and there are 9 of them!). This often gives rise to the symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome. While many people seek treatment through surgical means, we have had success in treating carpal tunnel syndrome through non-invasive adjustments to the bones of the wrist, hand, and lower arm. With surgical procedures costing anywhere between $6,000 and $11,000 dollars and not always resulting in full resolution of symptoms, many people are beginning to elect a more conservative approach to care.
Who Gets Carpal Tunnel Syndrome?
The patients that present to our office with complaints of carpal tunnel syndrome symptoms are those that perform daily repetitive motions with their hands. Those that type on a keyboard frequently, perform repetitive actions in manufacturing, and trades people that use twisting type tools such as screwdrivers and wrenches all day are typically the people that develop carpal tunnel symptoms. Certain occupations have also been shown to contribute to the development of the condition with jobs that involve long-term use of vibrating instruments and the repetitive use of the hands and wrist being the most common.
Typically, as the median nerve passing through the tunnel is compressed due to swelling and bony misalignments of the wrist, patients begin to feel sensations of burning, pain, tingling, or swelling extending from the first to the third digit and thumb. It is not uncommon for patients to report that they have recently noticed weakness throughout the affected hand or that picking up small objects isn’t as easy as usual. Occasionally people develop the feeling of swelling in their hand as the median nerve becomes compressed, even when no swelling is present.
Depending on the activity, carpal tunnel typically begins in a person’s dominant hand, but symptoms throughout both hands is not uncommon. Unfortunately, many health care professionals only focus on the site of pain when the problem actually lies elsewhere. In fact, it has been shown that patients suffering from carpal tunnel syndrome in both arms typically have nerve irritation stemming from the spine. This is often why carpal tunnel decompression surgeries are unsuccessful nearly 40% of the time. While carpal tunnel is more common in the dominant hand, it is also nearly 3 times more common in women due to the size of the tunnel itself.