Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

August 30, 2009 | Comments: 1 Comment

Categories: Science, Uncategorized, Wellness

Do your  hands get numb or tingly while typing or lifting weights? Shooting pain up to your elbow? Maybe it goes up your neck to the back of your head? Ow! You may have Carpal Tunnel Syndrome (CTS), more technically known as median nerve entrapment. The median nerve travels from the neck, under the collar bone, down the arm and into the hand where it gives sensation to the thumb, index, middle and one half of the ring finger. The carpal tunnel literally is a tunnel of bones and ligaments in the wrist through which the median nerve and some tendons pass. CTS occurs when the median nerve becomes compressed inside this tunnel.

Symptoms of CTS usually begin with numbness, tingling or itching in the thumb-side of the hand and palm, progressing to shooting or burning pain. If the condition goes untreated long enough, the pain can radiate up the arm, into the shoulder and can lead to weakness in the hand. You may not be able to hold a cup, drive or pick up a fork.

Diagnosis is made by talking to your doctor about your pain and an examination of the hands, arms, shoulders and neck. There are several tests that your doctor may perform including applying pressure to the median nerve or asking you to try to put your hands in “prayer position”. Any pain or tingling while performing these actions is a positive test for CTS. Often, it is the absence of pain in the little finger that will cinch the diagnosis.

Treatments include drugs, surgery, wrist braces, exercise and rest. Your doctor may prescribe a steroid or ibuprofen to help ease the inflammation in concert with wearing a wrist brace. Stretching and strengthening exercises are useful in treating and preventing CTS. Wrist curls, reverse wrist curls and wrist flexion are only a few of the beneficial moves you can do. Yoga has also shown to be effective in relieving CTS pain. Anecdotal evidence supports the use of acupuncture, but the results of clinical trials have been mixed. Clearly surgery is a last resort, not only because it is invasive, but also because it does not ease the pain for everyone.

 

Here are a few exercises you should be doing to prevent and treat CTS.

Wrist Curl – Place your arm palm up on your desk, holding little to no weight. Slowly curl your wrist up toward you. Return to start and repeat.

Reverse Wrist Curl – Place your arm palm down, holding little to no weight. Slowly lift your hand back toward you.

Wrist Flexion – Hold your arm out straight in front of you, fingers pointed up to the ceiling as if to indicate “Stop.” Using your other hand slowly and gently pull your fingers back toward you.

Arm Twist – Hold your arms out in front of as for the wrist curl.  Twist your wrist, turning your palms down toward the floor then back up to the ceiling.

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One response to “Carpal Tunnel Syndrome”

  1. I have successfully treated CTS many times in my practice. Acupuncture relaxes tight muscles, reduces inflammation (which causes pressure), reduces pain, and speeds up healing. Myofacial release, another service I provide, is also extremely useful in breaking up scar tissue and correcting chronic tension in the forearms.

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