Carpal Tunnel

In this great computer age, carpal tunnel syndrome has become a commonplace work place injury. How does it happen and what can you do about it?

Let's start with the anatomy lesson.

The bones of your wrist form a tunnel-like structure. This carpal tunnel has nine tendons and one nerve passing through it.

The median nerve controls sensations to the palm side of the thumb and fingers (although not the little finger), as well as impulses to some small muscles in the hand that allow the fingers and thumb to move.

Carpel tunnel syndrome occurs when the median nerve is irritated. It is an entrapment neuropathy. Compression of the median nerve causes neural symptomatology in the hand, forearm and sometimes the shoulder and neck.

Pain is described as burning, tingling, aching, or even itching numbness in the palm of the hand and the fingers.

Usually little to no swelling is present but sufferers still say their hand and fingers feel useless and swollen. It may be difficult for you to form a fist, grip small objects, and do repetitive manual tasks. It is almost always a dual injury as there is often involvement at the neck and wrist as well.

Proper diagnosis is vital.

There can be permanent damage to the median nerve if let go too long. An exam of the neck, shoulder, elbow and wrist is needed.

A visual inspection is first. Look at the skin color compared to your other hand. Is the skin warmer or colder than your other hand? Each finger and the palm of your hand should be tested for sensation strength and size of the muscles - again all compared to the other hand. More serious implications must be ruled out for treatment to begin.

What can be done?

Well with almost any repetitive injury, the sooner that you find relief and make reforms the better. We will likely recommend:

  • Ice (See instruction in the FAQs)
  • Rest, if possible
  • Cold Laser treatment (see Cold Laser info here)
  • A simple taping process that you can be taught to do at home
  • Adjustments of the wrist, elbow , and sometimes the lower cervical spine and or the upper thoracic spine

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