treating carpal tunnel syndrome

“The hand is the cutting edge of the mind.” – Jacob Bronowski

Carpal tunnel syndrome. At one time it seemed that almost everyone knew someone who suffered from it or suffered from it themselves. In fact, it was estimated in an article at the American Academy of Family Physicians website that,

“Carpal tunnel syndrome is the most common entrapment neuropathy, affecting approximately 3 to 6 percent of adults in the general population.”

Entrapment neuropathy is caused by compression and irritation of peripheral nerves as they travel through narrow anatomical spaces. It is typically characterized by pain and loss of motor or sensory function of the nerves as a result of chronic compression.

For carpal tunnel syndrome, the entrapment neuropathy is caused by pressure on the median nerve. When the median nerve is compressed, the symptoms can include numbness, tingling, and weakness in the hand and arm. The carpal tunnel is a narrow passageway surrounded by bones and ligaments on the palm side of your hand.

Unfortunately, many sufferers continue to suffer to some degree or another as the medical field is still unsure about many aspects of the cause of carpal tunnel syndrome, or how to best treat the condition.

A general consensus is that six weeks to three months of conservative treatment is normal for  patients with mild symptoms, while those with moderate to severe symptoms, or those with “persistent symptoms despite conservative treatment, may be referred for surgical evaluation.

Living with Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

Anecdotal evidence suggests that a large number of sufferers have carpal tunnel syndrome as a result of their work – repetitive motion leading to nerve damage. However, other evidence suggests that this may not be a major cause at all. 

An entry at the Mayo Clinic website states,

“However, the scientific evidence is conflicting and these factors haven’t been established as a direct cause of carpal tunnel syndrome.

Several studies have evaluated whether there is an association between computer use and carpal tunnel syndrome. Some evidence suggests that it is mouse use, and not the use of a keyboard, that may be the problem. However, there has not been enough quality and consistent evidence to support extensive computer use as a risk factor for carpal tunnel syndrome, although it may cause a different form of hand pain.”

That article does note that working with vibrating tools or on an assembly line that requires prolonged or repetitive flexing of the wrist may create harmful pressure on the median nerve or worsen existing nerve damage, especially if the work is done in a cold environment.

Part of the problem is determining the cause, but another aspect of treating the actual source of the pain. 

What has been determined through years of successful application, however, is that treatment using Active Release Technique® is effective for relieving pain from carpal tunnel syndrome. This conclusion is also supported by an early study reported on back in 2006 by the National Institutes of Health that found,

“There was significant improvement (p < 0.05) in the mean symptom severity and functional status scores of the BQ (Boston Questionnaire) following the intervention.

The preliminary data from this clinical pilot trial suggest that active release technique may be an effective conservative management strategy for CTS patients.”

Of course, at Pain and Performance Solutions, we have been treating patients with carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS) and other similar conditions for years and have seen the results. But it is always encouraging to see the efficacy of treatment therapies such as Active Release Technique® promoted by more mainstream sources such as Healthline.com,

“Active release technique (ART) treats your body’s soft tissue by combining manipulation and movement. The technique’s been around for more than 30 years. ART entails identifying, isolating, and targeting the affected area to break up scar tissue. This promotes blood flow and faster healing of injuries. ART can be used to treat problems with your:

  • muscles
  • ligaments
  • tendons
  • nerves”

The magazine goes to list carpal tunnel syndrome as one of a long list of conditions treated by ART® therapy.

Active Release Technique® is used to treat pain and other symptoms caused by injury or damage. Examples include:

  • The fascia, or fibrous connective tissue that protects and supports muscles and organs, can experience inflammation which can cause extreme pain and stiffness, for example.
  • Strains and pulls in major muscle groups from overuse or trauma can cause pain and limited movement. These groups include muscles in your neck and shoulders, back, and hamstrings.
  • Tendons connect muscles to bone and ligaments connect bone to bone. Injury to either can cause pain and decrease range of motion.

Pain and Performance Solutions – It’s What We Provide

At your first appointment, we will learn about your present pain as well as any history of discomfort. This is because treating and relieving your foot pain starts when we understand where and how your pain started.

A full examination will help us determine which form of treatment technique and therapy will be best suited to get you on your road to recovery. Because our bodies will compensate for pain to allow us to function during our day, the pain can shift around and lead to other forms of pain.

Ultimately, getting your body healthy and working properly is the only way to achieve total recovery. In the process, your trust in us is key, as is your honesty. So, don’t hesitate to reach out. We are here to help and will answer any questions that you may have.

Our goal is to work through the sequence of pain and dysfunction in order to get your body healthy and working properly and to achieve total recovery. Don’t hesitate to reach out. We are here to help and will answer any questions that you may have. We can be reached at (707) 636-4404 or by filling out our online contact form.