The Carpal Tunnel is made up of eight tiny bones in the wrist, which form a tunnel for three nerves and various blood vessels to pass from the arm into the hand. Irritation to the ligaments and bones that comprise this structure can result in the common condition known as carpal tunnel syndrome.
Symptoms include pain, numbness, and tingling, which usually occurs at night or in the early hours of the morning. These are caused by irritation to the median nerve, which runs through the center of the wrist. This nerve supplies feeling and motor function (the ability to move your fingers) to the first three fingers of the hand.
Women are affected with this problem more than men. This may have to do with hormonal factors that affect fluid retention in the body. In general, any build up of fluid in the tissue can further compress the area within the carpal tunnel.
The position of the hand and wrist can ease or worsen the symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome. Shaking the affected hand in the air, elevating the wrist, or placing the hand in hot water provides temporary relief. Conversely, placing the wrist in an extended or flexed position, especially for a prolonged period of time, aggravates the symptoms and the condition.
Because decreasing blood flow to the area increases symptoms, experts believe that the median nerve irritation is a result of poor blood supply through the tunnel to the nerve. There may also be a slight amount of hand discoloration due to this suspected circulatory deficiency.
Although part of the thumb may be involved, patients generally feel it in the index and middle finger. There may be slight difficulty or clumsiness associated with this condition due to the lack of proper nerve function. Grip strength is usually only slightly decreased, though patients who have this condition regularly report periods of weakness and may have problems with dropping things.
If you think you are suffering from carpal tunnel syndrome, the doctors at Mountain View Pain Center can help diagnose this condition. We perform a careful examination and history to help outline a corrective or palliative (way of controlling and decreasing the symptoms) course of treatment for you to follow.
Treatment of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
Chiropractic therapies that help this condition include manipulations of the wrist bones to improve circulation through the tunnel, proper stretching, conditioning, bracing (thumb loop night brace), and therapeutic and nutritional measures (extra B6, bromelain, etc.). It is important to follow the advice of your doctor, as this condition is not easily helped by exercise. Ultrasound also demonstrates disappointing results, as the swelling inside the tunnel is shielded by the wrist bones that make up the tunnel. Use of hot and cold hand soaks might, therefore, be recommended instead of ultrasound therapy to help treat this condition.
Carpal Tunnel Injections
At Mountain View Pain Center, we understand that carpal tunnel pain can be debilitating. If symptoms are not improving on their own and other treatment is not providing relief, a steroid injection may help.
Much like other steroid injections, once the area is numbed, a solution of corticosteroids and anesthetic is injected into the carpal tunnel to reduce pain and inflammation on the median nerve. While you might feel immediate relief due to the anesthetic, the steroid might take a few days to work. After your injection, you may experience temporary numbness in your hand.
Risks, though minimal, include bleeding, infection, and nerve damage. Let the doctor know if you are on blood thinners, are immunosuppressed, have an active infection, or are pregnant, as those carry additional risks.
While carpal tunnel is a common ailment, we can provide both chiropractic care and medical nonsurgical interventions that may significantly reduce your pain. Contact one of our offices today to learn more.
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We are double board-certified in pain management and specialize in spinal and neuromuscular pain conditions. Beyond providing safe and appropriate medication management options,We are highly-skilled experts in non-surgical interventions, using state-of-the art treatments to relieve pain and improve function.
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