Carpal tunnel syndrome
Carpal tunnel syndrome is a common condition that affects the median nerve. The median nerve originates from a group of nerves in the neck, passes through your shoulder, runs from your forearm into your hand and provides sensation to the palm of your hand, thumb side of each finger, and half of your index finger. In people with CTS, this nerve becomes compressed as it passes through a narrow space called the carpal tunnel on its way to the hand.
CTS causes tingling or numbness in parts of your hand as well as pain when you move them or use tools like pens, brushes, or screwdrivers. You may wake up with your hand(s) numb or tingling. Your doctor may be able to diagnose CTS by examining how well you can move each finger individually (known as "finger-tapping"). They might also ask questions about any recent injuries or illnesses that could have affected nerves in this area before making a diagnosis.
Other causes of wrist pain & numbness
It's no secret that many of us are showing the physical effects of prolonged sitting, hunched over a computer or phone for too many hours throughout the day. When our shoulders and head slouch forward, it puts added stress on our bodies - they are not in the position they were designed to work well in! This can cause compression on the median nerve, let alone the two other nerves in our arms.
A good way to find out whether you truly have carpal tunnel syndrome, or whether the pain is from another issue, is to see a doctor for a nerve conductivity test. As an alternative, massage therapy sessions can resolve the compression, unless it is related to an advanced condition of the cervical spine or shoulder. Many cases can be resolved in just a few visits.
Treatments for CTS
There are many non-surgical treatments for carpal tunnel syndrome. Since this condition is frequently associated with overuse and inflammation, some treatments are focused on rest and anti-inflammatory methods. Splinting is one of the most common, and it involves wearing a brace on your wrist to support it. Median nerve glides are often helpful in reducing irritation to the nerve.
Surgery is the most common treatment for carpal tunnel syndrome and it can help relieve pain, improve hand function, and reduce numbness. However, we have seen countless cases of people that have received carpal tunnel surgery, but the symptoms remain. Unfortunately, we find that many people had compression of the nerve that was not limited to the carpal tunnel...it is our opinion that proper evaluation before surgery could have avoided an unnecessary procedure.
We hope that we've been able to help you understand what carpal tunnel syndrome is, how it's treated and the risks associated with surgery. If you have any questions about how a massage from Kinetic Restoration might help your symptoms, please give us a call!