Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

Overview

This condition occurs due to entrapment of the median nerve within the carpal tunnel on the ventral surface of the wrist joint. The median nerve runs through the carpal tunnel together with the flexor tendons that supply movement to the fingers. The incidence of this syndrome is growing with the ever-increasing widespread use of computer and cell phone keyboards that cause repetitive hand movements. It is estimated that there are approximately two million sufferers of carpel tunnel syndrome in the USA.

Any condition that causes inflammation of the tendon sheaths (tenosynovitis), or encroachment on the carpal tunnel space will give rise to this condition. The median nerve then becomes squeezed as a limited space exists within the tunnel. This is because the nerve is the softest structure within the tunnel. Chronic pressure eventually leads to demyelination of the nerve, which can result in permanent damage to the nerve. Demyelination occurs due to a process in which inflammation sets up free radical formation, resulting in local damage. Normally, there is a continual process of myelination and demyelination of the nerve in its healthy state. In CTS, the demyelination exceeds the other because of free radicals.

Associated Conditions with Carpel Tunnel Syndrome

  • Occupations of repetitive stress (typists, doctors and dentists)
  • Diabetes
  • Rheumatoid/Osteoarthritis
  • Gout/Local bursitis
  • Deformity due to old wrist fracture
  • Pregnancy (3rd trimester)
  • Focal tendonitis
  • Hypothyroidism
  • Excessive growth hormone (acromegaly)
  • Oral contraceptives
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Symptoms

  • Tingling or numbness in hands/fingers
  • Radiating pain through wrist and up through arm to neck
  • Weakness in hands/fingers

This is not a complete list and if you are experiencing these symptoms it is not guaranteed you have carpal tunnel syndrome.

The most common symptoms are pain and numbness. The pain may radiate from the wrist up to the neck through the shoulder. Eventually, weakness of the finger muscles occurs; however, the little finger is unaffected. Chronic compression eventually leads to permanent numbness and tingling.

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Management

  • Early diagnosis and management may prevent necessity for surgery.
  • Initially, injection proximal, not into, the wrist joint of prednisolone and lidocaine may be successful for long periods of time. Direct injection into the carpal tunnel may damage the median nerve.

Conventional Therapies for Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

  • Stop aggravating, repetitive actions
  • Wear a wrist splint at work and at home during sleep
  • Apply ice for 10 minutes to the wrist a few times/day to reduce swelling
  • Apply a cooling gel
  • Anti-inflammatory (may improve symptoms but not progression of disease)
  • Regular chiropractic manipulation/acupuncture/TENS unit/low level lase
  • Vitamins/Minerals (a specified combination should be recommended based on your individual needs)

Appropriate Nutrition for Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

  • High phytonutrient diet
  • Essential Fatty acids, Enzymes, and other natural supplements

The Houston Wellness Clinic does not just manage the symptoms of a condition but finds the source of the problem and works with each patient to fix it. This may include change in lifestyle, supplements, change in diet, etc. Our specialist works with each patient to determine what management plan will work best for their individual needs.

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If we fill our hours with regrets of yesterday and with worries of tomorrow, we have no today in which to enjoy our existence. Seize the day, and take control of your health and life. How you are going to live those tomorrows will depend on how you act and choose today. - George Allibone M.D.