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Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

What is the Carpal Tunnel?

Carpus is the medical term referring to the wrist.  The carpal tunnel is the passage for the median nerve (the major nerve of the wrist) and the tendons in the wrist formed by the ligaments of the wrist and the carpal bones.  The median nerve passes through the carpal tunnel to provide nerve signals to the hand and fingers for muscle control and sensation.

What can cause Carpal Tunnel Syndrome?

In Carpal Tunnel Syndrome, the median nerve is compressed as it passes through the canal made by the wrist bones and the ligament of the wrist.  The nerve may be compressed or trapped in its path due to joint changes in rheumatoid arthritis or other systemic diseases.  In most cases, however, inflammation of the tendons and tissues of the wrist which causes the syndrome is not associated with systemic illness.

How can I tell if I have Carpal Tunnel Syndrome?

The majority of patients affected by this syndrome are middle-aged women.  The usual symptoms are pricking numbness and pain which is most prominent in the first three fingers, the thumb and the palm.  This pain comes on especially during the night and is relieved by shaking the hand.  Aching may accompany the numbness and extend up the arm.  In late cases, there may be wasting of the hand and fingers innervated by the median nerve.

What can the Doctor of Chiropractic due to help?

Doctors of Chiropractic are educated and trained in the detection and care of musculoskeletal problems, particularly the joints of the spinal column and extremities (shoulder, arm, wrist, etc.).  Your chiropractor can provide you with a complete examination and recommendations for care appropriate to your case.  He/she will seek to differentiate local problems from spinal referred pain.  Since the median nerve originates in the neck, the Doctor of Chiropractic will examine the neck thoroughly.