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Carpal Tunnel Syndrome - What is it?

Updated: Nov 6, 2019

Carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS) is a painful disorder of the hand caused by pressure on nerves that run through the wrist.

What is the carpal tunnel?

The carpal tunnel is a narrow passageway in the wrist. This tunnel allows for the median nerve, which extends from the spine to the hand, to pass through. Any swelling of the carpal tunnel can cause compression on the median nerve, resulting in carpal tunnel syndrome and potentially cutting off or limiting feeling and movement to portions of the hand.

What are the Symptoms of carpal tunnel?

  • Numbness

  • Pins and needles

  • Pain, particularly at night

  • Darting pains from the wrist

  • Radiated or referred pain into the arm and shoulder

  • Weakness of the hand (weak grip strength)

  • The little finger and half of the ring finger are unaffected

What are the risk factors?

Although many risk factors may not directly cause carpal tunnel syndrome, the below may increase your chances of developing or aggravating median nerve damage.

  • Anatomic factors. A wrist fracture or dislocation, or arthritis that deforms the small bones in the wrist, can alter the space within the carpal tunnel and put pressure on the median nerve.

  • Gender. CTS is generally more common in women (this may be because the carpal tunnel area is relatively smaller in women than men. However, this has not been confirmed).

  • Nerve-damaging conditions. Some chronic illnesses such as diabetes, increase your risk of nerve damage (median nerve damage).

  • Inflammatory conditions. Illnesses that are characterised by inflammation (rheumatoid arthritis) can affect the lining around the tendons in your wrist and put pressure on the median nerve.

  • Obesity.

  • Pregnancy. The hormones associated with pregnancy cause general fluid retention, which can compress the nerve.

  • Workplace factors. People who use their hands repetitively in their day-to-day activities, such as typists or assembly line workers.

Chiropractic treatment of carpal tunnel syndrome

The median nerve originates in the cervical spine. As Chiropractors we can investigate and locate any potential interference in your spinal vertebrae that may be causing compression of the nerves. Our Chiropractic methods of treatment can include gentle manipulation of the wrist, elbow and cervical spine.

If it is left untreated, the syndrome can cause permanent damage to the hand or thumb. If you think you may have CTS, book in a consultation with us and we can kick-start the healing process.

Click HERE to book your initial consultation with one of our Chiropractors at Sydney Family Chiropractic.

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