Carpal Tunnel Syndrome – probably not what you think

I just saw a study of carpal tunnel patients. It was done on patients with the problem in both hands. They did surgery in one hand. After 14 months, half the patients were symptom-free in the non-treated hand. This comes as no surprise to me where I find that at least 75% of the patients diagnosed with carpal tunnel syndrome do not really have it.

What is Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

The carpal tunnel is in the wrist. It is a tunnel or pathway between bones that the nerves travel through going to the hand. With repetitive injury to your hand, the nerves will be restricted in this tunnel. If you have Carpal Tunnel Syndrome, you will have numb hands because of this restriction. You will usually have no problems in the arms or shoulders

Here is the test for Carpal Tunnel Syndrome:

Bring your arms out in front of you parallel with the floor. Press the back of the hands together so your wrists are touching and your fingers are pointing toward the floor. Your wrists are bent at 90 degrees. Hold for a minute. If your fingers start going numb, you may have Carpal Tunnel Syndrome.

Do you have False Carpal Tunnel Syndrome?

False Carpal Tunnel Syndrome is numbness from other causes. It is usually really Thoracic Outlet Syndrome. Thoracic Outlet Syndrome is where the nerves are restricted in the neck, under the collar bone, or in the chest.

What to do?

Well, do the test above. If you have true Carpal Tunnel Syndrome, I would try acupuncture before going into surgery. It is worth a try, though it is not consistently successful. Also you may try some vitamins – I have a good B12 from Biotics that includes B6 and folic acid. Give it a couple months. I have some exercises that can be useful. Also, consider changing the activities that bring on your symptoms.

For Thoracic Outlet Syndrome:

Here acupuncture really shines. The muscles respond quite well to the needles. Also posture plays quite a role with this problem and need to be evaluated – sitting, standing and sleeping postures. Stretches are useful – corner stretches for the pectoralis muscles and neck stretches for your scalenes.

The bottom line:

Don’t be quick to go under the knife. It is likely that you don’t need the surgery. Try some alternatives – acupuncture, physical therapy, perhaps even chiropractic.