If you or someone you know is experiencing numbness, tingling, pain, and weakness in the thumb, index and middle fingers, it is likely because of carpal tunnel syndrome.
This condition is caused by compression and irritation of the median nerve which is one of the main nerves that supplies the upper extremity. The median nerve originates from the spinal cord (like all nerves), at the lower part of the neck, and travels down the arm, eventually passing through a narrow space in the wrist which is formed by 8 wrist or carpal bones (forming the ‘floor’ of the tunnel) which are bridged by a ligament (forming the ‘roof’ of the tunnel). The main structures that pass through this ‘tunnel’ are the tendons that attach to the muscles that flex the wrist and fingers, and the median nerve.
When this space becomes compromised, usually due to inflammation from overuse, it may compress the median nerve which creates the aforementioned symptoms. Carpal tunnel syndrome is a common affliction of modern society because for many of us, our jobs can be very repetitive and straining to the tissues forming the carpal tunnel. Activities such as typing, or factory work are common culprits. Carpal tunnel syndrome usually starts with numbness, tingling and pain, but if it persists for long enough, may lead to weakness, and muscle wasting (atrophy).
Carpal tunnel syndrome, especially in the early stages can respond very well to conservative therapies. Like anything else, a ‘common sense’ approach is usually first in line, so if you are performing a job that causes strain, then ‘removing’ the irritating factors will go a long way. Chiropractic treatment is often very effective for this condition because the goal will be to reduce or remove irritation of the median nerve, from its roots in the neck right down to the carpal tunnel itself in the wrist. Because we are dealing with tissue damage and inflammation here, the treatment modalities discussed in previous blogs may work well here. In particular LASER therapy and acupuncture help not only reduce inflammation but they promote repair of nerve tissue. A combination of hands-on therapy like chiropractic treatment, and modalities like LASER and acupuncture, as well as home exercises and stretches, are a sensible approach to correcting this problem. Advanced cases, and those that don’t respond to conservative therapies may require more invasive measures like cortisone injection or even surgery as a last resort.
If you’re experiencing the symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome please call us for an appointment, we offer many therapies to help. 519-258-8544