Carpal Tunnel Diagnosis and Treatment

on Feb 24 in Chiropractic Blog posted , , by

Carpal Tunnel, there is help !

Carpal TunnelEvery now and then a new diagnosis comes to town where for lack of a better idea they lump a certain collection of symptoms into a “Likely Diagnosis”. These seem to fall into and then out of favor as new ideas come around. Carpal Tunnel is just one of these and in many cases doesn’t exist quite as they describe it in the literature.

Carpal Tunnel is one of them that seems to encompass any sort of alteration in muscle strength or numbness or tingling in the hands. The way we remembered this concept in school was the thumb and index finger make a U for the Ulnar nerve and the remaining three digits made an M for the Median nerve. A true carpal tunnel injury would affect only the median nerve thus the last three digits however… the actual mechanism of injury is a LOSS of the carpal tunnel or as I call it, “Carpal Flat”. Am I cute or what…. ? Don’t say what now or I’ll stop typing. I do hope that you get what I am driving at here; it’s a loss of the tunnel that impinges on the nerve causing the symptoms.

The medical approach to treatment is to cut the flexor retenaculum which is the ligamentous structure that holds the carpal tunnel in place. The idea is that this will “Open” the tunnel and give the Median nerve more room thus reducing pressure on the nerve and hence symptoms. In reality it collapses the tunnel by removing its only support. Perhaps this accounts for the abysmal amount of failed carpal tunnel surgeries.

My actual belief is that Carpal Tunnel doesn’t exist as they tend to describe it. Chiropractors think more along the line of “Double Crush Injury” what that means is there are two insults to the nerve pathway involved that work together to cause the peripheral symptoms of numbness and tingling that show up in the hand/s.

This is the proper postion to create the carpal tunnel.

This is the proper position to create the carpal tunnel.

Usually this is in the neck AND. I say the neck and, as its almost always starting in the neck. WHAT you ask hand symptoms from the neck ? Yes indeed, there are eight “Cervical nerves” half of which are involved with both sensory and motor function of the upper extremity. Hello ! Wow

who would have thought that ? There are three other areas of potential entrapment the shoulder, elbow and wrist.

This is NOT something the layperson can treat for themselves and or diagnose for that matter but there is something that can help lessen the symptoms in many patients. There is a tape job that supports the carpal tunnel and can often reduce symptoms and repair damage if given enough time. The tape job goes across the palm next to the wrist. How you find the appropriate area is touch your thumb to your pinky. When you do this, you will create a “Butt” at the base of your palm.

You would apply the tape in this position.

You would apply the tape in this position.

Put the tape across the back of the thumb and stretch it across the chasm created by this thumb to pinky position and circle around the hand twice. Make it tight across the palm and just lay the tape across the back of the hand securely.

I like to use electrical tape why… it comes in MANY fashion forward colors for the ladies, and it also has some inherent stretch to it that athletic tape doesn’t have. Its also cheap which in this economy really helps.

The protocol is tape whenever you are using your wrists, typing, at the gym or any time stresses are present. Keep this up for eight to ten weeks. The ligaments that have changed don’t come back to their pre-injury status but they will contract quite a bit and this support protocol allows them to recover whatever amount they are going to which in many cases is enough to relieve the symptoms.


Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

The hand sometimes feels tight but you retain sufficient dexterity for most activities.

Some people say I can’t do my work like this, and yet I have had data entry workers tell me it takes just a little getting used to and they have all the dexterity they need.

Of course treatment by a competent Chiropractor increases the odds significantly that you will fully recover, this is a cost effective starting place. I can tell you that many of my patients that had been scheduled for carpal tunnel surgery blow it off symptom free after a run of Chiropractic therapy and this tape job.

I have received a LOT of positive feedback from my patients on this procedure so I am very confident that it can help people who suffer with Carpal Tunnel. I hope you find this tip helpful.