Everybody has a carpal tunnel, but a few of us have carpal tunnel syndrome. This is a condition that causes pinching of the nerve at the wrist and can lead to weakness, numbness, and pain. If you have to shake your hand(s) to get relief, then this is another sign of carpal tunnel syndrome. Symptoms usually include pain and/or numbness on the palm side of the hand and typically only affects half of the palm on the thumb side. In other words, carpal tunnel has a particular distribution of symptoms that includes the thumb, the index finger, the middle finger, and sometimes part of the ring finger. If this doesn't sound familiar, you probably have something different: namely ulnar tunnel syndrome or cubital tunnel syndrome.
The carpal tunnel is a canal formed by bones and soft tissue in the wrist that permits tendons from the forearm and the median nerve to enter into the hand. Sometimes the shape and size of this tunnel can change due to changes in the positions of the bones that make the carpal tunnel, or inflammation, or both. This change in shape and size can cause the contents of the carpal tunnel to become entrapped or compressed.
Some activities associated with carpal tunnel include driving for extended periods, typing in a form that is not ergonomic, or repetitive use of the hands in a flexed or extended position. These activities train the muscles in your wrist and hand in a bad position and slowly makes changes to the carpal tunnel over time.
If you want to avoid surgery for carpal tunnel, then there are conservative treatments that will likely fix the problem. The first is manipulation of the bones in the hand. This is most expertly done by a Chiropractor. There are also specific stretches and exercises to do that will retrain the muscles to open up the carpal tunnel. These need to be done under the supervision of a physician, because they can also cause symptoms to worsen.
If you think you have carpal tunnel, give us a call at 918-600-2969.