Carpal Tunnel Syndrome (CTS)
Hand pain, tingling, weakness? It might be Carpal Tunnel Syndrome (CTS) a painful and debilitating nerve problem in the wrist and hand.
About Carpal Tunnel Syndrome (CTS)
The carpal tunnel is a space created by the bones of the wrist, called carpals that form an arch. Acting as a floor to the arch is a wide band of connective tissue called the flexor retinaculum. Passing through the tunnel are nerves, blood vessels and tendons. The primary nerve through the carpal tunnel is called the median nerve. The median nerve supplies important nerve impulses to the hand and fingers.
Repetitive movements of the wrist causes the carpal arch to flatten putting pressure on the median nerve. The result is irritation of the nerve causing tingling and pain into the hand. In time, the nerve irritation causes weakness of the muscle of the thumb that may be apparent by not being able to hold onto things. Over a period of time, the muscle weakness may worsen causing the muscles of the thumb to shrink or atrophy.
CTS is one of the most overly diagnosed condition known. Many medical physicians, general chiropractors and therapists will make a snap diagnosis based merely upon the patient’s complaints of wrist pain and/or tingling. Invasive injections and surgeries are often unsuccessfully performed based on mere symptoms of hand pain and numbness. Unsuccessful because there are other conditions that may cause similar symptoms, but are not CTS.
Before an accurate diagnosis is made, conditions such as cervical nerve root inflammation (radiculitis), thoracic outlet syndrome (TOS), ulnar nerve irritation at the elbow, tendinitis of the elbow/forearm, or tenosynovitis of the wrist (De Quervain’s disease) must be counted out.
Physical examination of the neck, shoulder, elbow, forearm, wrist and hand include specific maneuvers known as orthopedic and neurological tests to pinpoint the problem. Skin sensation for touch and vibration and reflexes are tested.
Treatment of CTS is rooted in relieving inflammation of the median nerve by use of physio-therapy modalities. The space within the carpal tunnel is improved via manual adjustments (movement of bones) and exercises. Support of the wrist and hand is provided by a wrist splint that properly positions the joints. Treatment of other associated areas such as the forearms and neck are performed as well. Specifically, manual spinal adjustments of the neck increases nerve flow from its origin to the wrist and hand to improve flow and reduce tingling and weakness.
A particularly effective treatment for carpal tunnel pain is cold laser therapy. Cold laser is a a non-invasive, painless light energy treatment that can help reduce inflammation and speed the healing of nerve tissue. Quick and painless treatments can relieve hand and wrist pain and tingling without any side-effects.
Shots and surgery may be considered only after exhaustive attempts have been made to remedy the condition with non-invasive, conservative measures such as the above due to risks of complications and failure.
Double Crush Phenomenon
A condition your medical doctor will nerve tell you about or even consider is a very real and common condition know as a “double crush.” Besides a completely missed diagnosis, a double crush is often the reason why so many CTS surgeries fail.
A double crush is where there is interference or pressure on the median nerve at the wrist, but insufficient to cause actual symptoms of CTS. Simultaneously, however there is also a blockage of nerve flow either at the elbow or neck, most commonly the neck. The combined lack of flow causes CTS. In this case, if only the wrist is treated, it will fail. Also, if only the neck or elbow are treated, treatment will also fail. Both areas of nerve interference must be dealt with simultaneously for a successful outcome.
Carpal Tunnel Syndrome is a painful and disabling nerve condition causing wrist and hand pain, tingling and weakness. Proper diagnosis is required to pinpoint the cause and effect a successful treatment.
CTS Diagnosis and Treatment Offer
Orange County, California residents suffering from wrist and hand pain are urged to call Dr Marks at (714) 938-0575 for an evaluation to see what can be done to relieve your pain quickly and affordably. For only $49 you will receive a comprehensive wrist and hand pain examination, x-rays and your first treatment. A savings of $200. Appointments are necessary and you must mention $49 CTS offer.