Experiencing Wrist Pain?

Jul 20

Carpal Tunnel Syndrome- Identification, Prevention and Treatment

     Carpal Tunnel Syndrome (CTS) is characterized by wrist pain, with radiating pain into the thumb, index and middle finger. People often experience numbness and weakness of the thenar region (thumb-side) of affected hand, and the pain may intensify at night. CTS is considered a cumulative trauma disorder or a repetitive strain syndrome. Simply, it is mainly caused by over-use. Since most jobs require excessive hours of sitting at a computer, the hands and wrists tend to be over-used and progressively lead to this condition.

     The most common cause of these symptoms stem from irritation of the median nerve as it enters the hand through the carpal tunnel. This is formed by the small carpal bones of the wrist and the flexor tendons that originate from the forearm and elbow, which move the hand and fingers. Pressure or compression of the median nerve results in the symptoms mentioned above. Since the condition usually gets progressively worse over time, many people may ignore the symptoms until the pain becomes so severe that they must see a doctor to get some relief. Unfortunately, by the time the pain is this severe, patients may be facing treatments such as corticosteroid injections or surgery for more severe cases.

Knowing is half the battle

     If you are experiencing wrist and hand pain you should get evaluated right away. Don’t wait until the condition gets too severe, and rehabilitation becomes an uphill battle. Many times this condition can be prevented with proper ergonomic awareness, frequent breaks throughout the day, as well as daily stretching and strengthening routines.

     Commonly patients that suffer from CTS present with other conditions affecting the arm and neck. Many of these patients tend to have neck pain or stiffness, forearm and shoulder pain; usually being caused by the same poor sitting postures and over-use activities. The median nerve originates from the brachial plexus which is a network of nerves that originate from the cervical spine (neck). Poor sitting postures throughout the day may result in continuous strain to cervical spine, which may affect these nerve roots and create CTS-like symptoms.

     Most success in treating carpal tunnel involves treatment to specific areas throughout the hand, wrist, elbow, axilla (arm-pit) and neck. These are regions that the median nerve transverses through are common sites of nerve compression. Treatment of just the wrist and hand region is not always the most successful approach to resolving CTS, and may be the reason why a corticosteroid injection for CTS usually provides only temporary relief.

Active Release Techniques®

     Active Release Technique® is a patented state-of-art soft-tissue treatment that treats cumulative trauma disorders, such as CTS, by reducing scar tissue in areas of repetitive injury. The treatment can help restore relative motion between entrapped nerves and the soft-tissue surrounding them, such as ligaments, fascia, and/or muscles. This functional approach to treatment can help facilitate healing, and allow the patients to experience relief. As pain is reduced, functional exercises are introduced to help strengthen the weakened areas. In addition, ergonomic advice is given to patients to help prevent future occurrences.

If you are experiencing this symptom, call your health professional and schedule an evaluation.  Or you if you would like further information regarding this condition, please email me at drsalinas@parkavenuespine.com or give us a call today 212-685-9123 for a complimentary consultation. 

The Author

Dr. Paul M. Salinas, is a licensed Doctor of Chiropractic specializing in the treatment, rehabilitation, and prevention of neuro-muscular skeletal injuries. He is a certified Full-Body Active Release Techniques® practitioner. His New York chiropractic practice is Park Avenue Spine, located in Manhattan. In addition to his practice, Dr. Salinas has been an adjunct professor of Anatomy and Physiology at Berkeley College, as well as a lecturer for corporate wellness and injury prevention programs.

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