We have been helping patients with carpal tunnel symptoms at Executive Express Chiropractic for many years now. We have also worked with many local businesses and companies such as PG&E, the Dept. of Transportation, Charles Schwab, and the San Francisco Legal Secretaries Association, to help prevent and treat carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS) and related disorders.
Carpal tunnel syndrome occurs when the median nerve, which runs from the forearm into the hand, becomes pressed or squeezed at the wrist. The median nerve controls sensations to the palm side of the thumb and fingers (although not the little finger), as well as impulses to some small muscles in the hand that allow the fingers and thumb to move. The carpal tunnel - a narrow, rigid passageway of ligament and bones at the base of the hand - houses the median nerve and tendons. Sometimes, thickening from irritated tendons or other swelling narrows the tunnel and causes the median nerve to be compressed. The result may be pain, weakness, or numbness in the hand and wrist, radiating up the arm. Although painful sensations may indicate other conditions, carpal tunnel syndrome is the most common and widely known of the entrapment neuropathies in which the body's peripheral nerves are compressed or traumatized.
So, that's pretty much the dictionary definition of CTS. But here's the deal...True carpal tunnel SYNDROME is actually rare...carpal tunnel SYMPTOMS are common.
What are the signs and symptoms of CTS?
Numbness and Tingling in the hand/s
Burning or itching
Neck and arm pain
Radiating pain from hand up arm
CTS symptoms can be caused by problems in the neck. The median nerve, which is the nerve in the wrist that is compromised in true CTS, actually originates in the neck. The neck is much more likely to be the origin of CTS symptoms than the carpal tunnel itself.
This is a problem because many doctors and therapist focus only on the site of pain when diagnosing CTS, which is why carpal tunnel syndrome is so commonly misdiagnosed.
My Take: If you have carpal tunnel symptoms and you think you may have CTS, you should find a doctor that spends a good part of their day treating carpal tunnel syndrome and it's related disorders.
At Executive Express Chiropractic in the SF Financial District we incorprate all of the therapies listed above, plus ergonomic instruction and specific carpal tunnel exercises.
Chiropractors familiar with Repetitive Stress Injuries (RSI) will also be able to determine if the cause of your CTS symptoms is something other than true CTS or a problem in the neck.
You may need x-rays of the neck or hand, a cervical MRI, or even a nerve conduction test. At Executive Express we always try to contain costs and only order diagnostic tests if conservative treatment fails to deliver results.