There are a few different conditions that can cause numbing, tingling, pain, or even weakness down into the hand, carpal tunnel being the most well known. Carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS) is an entrapment or pinching of the median nerve that causes these symptoms in the thumb, index finger, middle finger, and thumb side of the ring finger.
The median nerve starts as three nerve roots that stem from the neck at vertebral levels C5, C6, and C7, so if there is any pressure at these locations it can result in symptoms very similar to carpal tunnel syndrome. There are many different sites where the median nerve could be entrapped such as the wrist, forearm, shoulder, and even the neck. This is often coined “double crush” which describes the scenario when the median nerve is being impinged at 2 different locations.
There are many potential causes of carpal tunnel syndrome such as a lack of mobility, sustained poor posture, or neck/wrist injury could potentially irritate the nerve. Conditions that increase your risk of developing CTS include obesity, hypothyroidism, diabetes, pregnancy, or anything that increases water retention.
Conservative care can include manual therapy performed by an Active Release Technique (ART) specialist who releases compression at very specific soft tissue sites so that the nerve can run freely through it’s path. Nerve flossing is a great technique that involves gentle exercises to mobilize the nerves to relieve the symptoms. Adjustments are another great treatment especially if the cause is coming from the cervical spine. It is very important that we not only get the diagnosis right but also the root cause of the problem. These are a few different techniques that we believe are paramount in treating the root cause of carpal tunnel syndrome.
Carpal Tunnel Syndrome surgery does have it’s place, but conservative care for at least 4 weeks has shown to be very effective and cheaper. If you or anyone you know has CTS like symptoms and would like some help visit www.cumberlandspine.com or call 615-444-2234. We will get you better, faster!