People who do repetitive tasks – housewives, secretaries, meat cutters, assembly line workers, carpenters, musicians, computer users and others – may be more likely to develop carpal tunnel syndrome. Fractures, falls on the hand, and poorly designed vibrating hand tools may also damage the palm of the hand and cause carpal tunnel syndrome. Other causes are rheumatoid arthritis or osteoarthritis, Paget's bone disease, multiple myeloma, acromegaly and gout.
Your carpal (wrist) bones form a tunnel-like structure – the carpal tunnel – through which pass nine tendons and one nerve – the medical nerve. Carpal tunnel syndrome (also called occupational neuritis, partial thenar atrophy and median neuritis) occurs when the median nerve is irritated. Carpal tunnel syndrome is so common that it has been called the “occupational disease of the 1990s.”
The relationship between spinal health and carpal tunnel has been documented by a number of individuals who found spinal nerve root irritation in patients who had carpal tunnel or ulnar neuropathy. Others have found that nerve compression in the neck can block the flow of nutrients to the nerves in the wrist, making the wrist more susceptible to injury. This problem is called the “double crush syndrome.” Not surprisingly, when 1,000 cases of carpal tunnel syndrome were investigated, it was found that a large number of those suffering from carpal tunnel syndrome also had arthritis in the neck area.
As a Board Certified Chiropractic Neurologist, I take a different approach to the treatment and prevention of carpal tunnel syndrome. After a thorough neurological examination, I determine which part of the nervous system is not functioning properly.
The right brain controls the left side of the body, and the left brain controls the right side of the body. If a patient is experiencing pain on one side of the body (right or left), the opposite brain may be firing at an abnormally high rate. In order for a patient to perceive pain, an area of the brain must fire at a higher frequency. If the pain is bilateral (on both sides), there may be different central structures involved, such as the brain stem or cerebellum.