Carpal tunnel is a malady of the modern era, it seems. First described following World War II, carpal tunnel syndrome is classically associated with office workers and the condition affects more women than men.
The physical reality of carpal tunnel is compression of the median nerve where it runs into the hand on the palm side. The median nerve’s job is to provide sensation to most of the fingers on your hand (only partially to the pinky). When this nerve is compromised, numbness, tingling and weakness can occur.
The condition can affect both hands.
The source of the pain CTS sufferers experience is nerve compression. When nerves are compressed, they’re not happy and their way of signaling a problem is to scream with pain.
Carpal tunnel can be caused either by repetitive movements (typing is the one we most commonly associate with it) and improper biomechanics. The prolonged use of power tools may also be at fault, as well as playing an instrument like the piano. But CTS can arise when there’s an underlying medical condition present.
Diabetes, thyroid dysfunction, autoimmune diseases, high blood pressure and fractures or trauma to the wrist in the past may all provoke CTS.
Who’s at risk?
Women are 3 times as likely as men to develop CTS. Medical conditions (as detailed above) may be at fault and people tend to be diagnosed with carpal tunnel between the ages of 30 and 60.
A sedentary lifestyle, obesity, cigarette-smoking and a salt-heavy diet are other key indicators for CTS.
People who work in the manufacturing sector, on assembly lines and in construction are also at risk, due to the repetitive movement involved. Typists and other office personnel are also a key demographic, with respect to who’s at risk.
Carpal tunnel syndrome can be managed without resorting to surgery. This was underlined by the American College of Orthopedic Surgeons in 2008, when the College released guidelines concerning conservative treatment models.
The recommendations made at that time included rest and avoiding movements that exacerbate CTS. Wrist splints were another recommended option and were especially important to wear at night.
Of course, some sufferers of CTS have underlying health conditions which aren’t being adequately addressed. Sometimes relief is as simple as not smoking, getting more exercise and cutting at least some of the salt content from your diet.
Surgery is very rarely indicated and only in the instance of serious damage to the median nerve, beyond the reach of conservative treatment.
But at Back & Body, we’re a group of multi-disciplinarian healthcare professionals with your wellbeing in mind. With four disciplines being practiced under one roof, we offer you access to treatments under the rubrics of chiropractic, sports medicine, physical therapy and acupuncture.
Back & Body Medical
If you’re seeking relief from the symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome, we can help. Back & Body has now brought its award-winning integrated care model to New Jersey.
Contact us to book a consultation. We’re pain relief specialists who work as a team.