Over the last decade and a half, carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS) became the # 2 surgery performed in the United States. It was the “buzz” phrase that captured headline news in the '90's. Graphic illustrations of people in pain adorned the newspapers and even Gary Trudeau creator of the Doonesbury cartoon series did two cartoons on the subject. OSHA, Occupational Safety and Health Association, set ergonomic standards for companies to help curb the epidemic of CTS. There has been so much research done on this disorder, and labeled a disease, (it is not) and it still surprises me that they do not know the cause of it. Today it is still an issue and a very expensive one, and a surgery I believe, is not necessary in most cases.
If you have these symptoms, does this mean you have carpal tunnel syndrome?
Symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome may include:
o loss of sense of touch
o tingling and numbness in your hand and fingers
o pain in your shoulder at night, pain in your elbow, or swelling in your wrist area
o loss of grip strength in your hand
o pain in your wrist when you have it stretched in an extreme position, such as bending your wrist pointing the fingers to the floor.
o dropping objects more often than usual
oa burning sensation in your wrist and hand area
o being unable to unscrew a jar lid
o more difficult to do tasks such as brushing your hair
The loss of your grip strength and not being able to use your hands without pain is a serious matter and should not be taken lightly. But, before you opt for an invasive procedure such as surgery, you may want to consider another alternative – A non-invasive approach with less down time in healing and dealing with the cause and not just the symptoms.
What is Carpal Tunnel Syndrome?
Carpal Tunnel Syndrome is the entrapment and compression of the median nerve due to a structural and postural misalignment bought on by the overworked and over strained muscles of the upper body, arm, wrist and hand, which can lead to a muscle-strength problem.
oooAny previous neck injury or injury to the upper body can also further complicate symptoms and healing time.
oooAn additional component could be a systemic or a biochemical factor, which can bring on an inflammatory condition not involving repetitive movement.
Carpal tunnel syndrome causes numbness or tingling in your fingers or hand and may cause a pain from the wrist that seems to shoot into your forearm or palm. The pain may be worse at night. Carpal is from a Greek word that means “wrist” -and the carpal tunnel is just what it sounds like, a passageway or tunnel through your wrist that protects nerves and tendons. The median nerve, which affects feeling in your thumb and all your fingers except your little finger, passes through the carpal tunnel. When the tunnel becomes swollen, your median nerve is compressed. The key to an accurate diagnosis of carpal tunnel syndrome is that the little finger is not affected, because the median nerve is not connected to this finger.
Now that the definition has been said, lets discuss the cause of carpal tunnel syndrome.
A Healthy Body physically moves in space, in gravity, with daily stresses on the physical body. These stresses take the form of micro (small muscle movements) and macro (large muscle movements) and all normal. When it is subordinated to a higher degree of repetitive movements the risk factor increases for a musculoskeletal injury.
A Body that is overworked and over strained begins to weaker as fatigue, soreness, and pain develop in the musculature. Muscles that are becoming functionally weaker, and are feeling the brunt of the work, give out. Normal. Anatomically, when this occurs, the tendon attached to the muscle begins to feel the strain, and as it is attached to a bone, as tension increases, it may slowly begin to pull that bone / joint out of alignment. An inflammatory condition may develop called tendinitis. The result is a reduction in nerve conductivity to the muscle for normal function. And again, this is a normal course of events when you are healthy, and physically active. It is reversible.
The Unhealthy Body which is structurally misaligned, pain in the muscles, developing symptoms listed above, fatigued … and worn down, develops from years of neglect and lack of care.
Reason? Body Maintenance. Why? You were never taught how. You are a mechanical being moving parts that need to be oiled, lubed and grease, aligned and electrically sound. You perform mechanical maintenance on your car, why not your Body! It needs the same tender, loving care, so it will last longer. You can not throw it away or buy a new one when it falls apart. It is never too late to learn Body Maintenance. Learn how, and you can rid yourself of carpal tunnel pain without surgical intervention.