Carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS) is a very common pain syndrome affecting approximately 20% of the population. CTS occurs when the median nerve becomes inflamed within the carpal tunnel which is formed by the carpal, or wrist, bones and the transverse carpal ligament. In addition to the median nerve, all of the flexor tendons of the wrist and hand pass through the carpal tunnel. Because the median nerve is the softest structure passing within the wrist, it is the structure that becomes irritated with pressure in the carpal tunnel. The result of irritation on the median nerve is pain, tingling, or numbness in the front of the thumb, pointer finger, middle finger, and half of the ring finger.
Carpal tunnel syndrome has two possible causes: expansion of the structures within the carpal tunnel or a diminished size of the carpal tunnel. With repetitive stress on the flexor muscles from typing, texting, tasks that require a strong grip, etc., the flexor tendons become inflamed and enlarge. Enlargement of the flexor tendons diminishes the space within the carpal tunnel, compressing on the median nerve. The more common, and often overlooked cause, is flattening of the carpal arch, making the carpal tunnel smaller. Due to postural disturbances or trauma, the lunate, or keystone of the carpal arch, may fall, restricting the size of the carpal tunnel.
Carpal tunnel syndrome is a pain syndrome that can often be alleviated without the need for unreliable and costly surgery. A chiropractor is one of the only healthcare professionals that is able to determine if carpal tunnel syndrome is due to a fallen carpal arch or inflammation of the flexor tendons. If CTS is due to a fallen arch, the chiropractor will gently realign the bones, alleviating the symptoms of CTS. If the problem is due to inflamed flexor tendons, the chiropractor will show you stretches to lengthen those tendons and proper ergonomics to limit stress on those tendons. Schedule an appointment with your chiropractor today if you would like to get rid of your carpal tunnel syndrome.