What Causes Carpal Tunnel Syndrome?
A person with carpal tunnel syndrome feels tingling, burning, or itching and numbness in the palm of the hand and the fingers, especially the thumb and index finger. Sensations to the palm of the hand, as well as the thumb and three other fingers (not the little finger) are controlled by the median nerve which also controls some of the small muscles that allow the thumb and fingers to move. Pressure on the median nerve can lead to pain, numbness and weakness in the hand and wrist, which may make its way up into the arm.
A traditional approach to carpal tunnel syndrome begins with a combination of physical therapy and bracing of the wrist that eventually leads to surgical removal or enlargement of the carpal tunnel itself. The success rates of surgery for carpal tunnel syndrome have mixed results. It is has been reported by the Bureau of Labor and Statistics that only approximately 25% of people were able to return to their previous occupations following surgery. In addition, recent patient surveys have found that nearly 57% of patients undergoing the surgery experienced recurrent symptoms following the procedure. Many patients have reported requiring second and even third surgeries and being prescribed multiple prescription drugs following the procedure.
What most people are not aware of is that often the cause of the symptoms associated with carpal tunnel is due to nerve interference caused by misalignment in the spine. Misalignment in any of the joints between the spine and hand may be sufficient to cause the symptoms associated with carpal tunnel syndrome. Until the problems at the spine are resolved, surgery and other treatments concentrating on the wrist will have minimal benefit.