Non-surgical therapy for Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

POINT NUMBER ONE:  Carpal Tunnel Syndrome (CTS) is not a disease that you catch.  It’s not a disease that you develop.  It’s not a disease … period.  It’s SYNDROME.

Wikipedia defines a “syndrome” this way: A syndrome, in medicine and psychology, is the collection of signs and symptoms that are observed in, and characteristic of, a single condition.

Therefore, it’s important to understand that CTS is simply a collection of symptoms that are characteristically found together at the wrist and hand.

POINT NUMBER TWO:  There are specific criteria for identifying the syndrome.

  • The symptoms, which may include pain, tingling and/or numbness, have a distinct and limited location:
  • The location on the palm side of the hand is from near the wrist all the way to the fingertips, in the thumb, forefinger, middle finger and half of the ring finger.
  • The location on the back of the hand is the fingers only, from the knuckles to the fingertips, in the same fingers.
  • If the symptoms are in the whole hand, it’s NOT CTS. If the symptoms are in the little finger and half of the ring finger, it’s NOT CTS.

So, general symptoms in the hand and wrist are, by definition, something other than CTS. 

POINT NUMBER THREE:  The carpal tunnel is an actual tunnel formed by the shapes of the eight carpal bones in the wrist on the back side of the hand ad by a tendon called the retinaculum on the palm side of the hand.  These form a tube or tunnel for the nerves, tendons and blood vessels to move freely as we move our wrist.

POINT NUMBER FOUR:  CTS results when something compromises the SHAPE of the tunnel, causing extra friction on the structures that pass through the tunnel.

POINT NUMBER FIVE:  Standard medical treatments of CTS may include wearing a cock-up splint and taking vitamin B6.  As you can see, both of these strategies only address symptoms rather than doing anything to re-open the shape of the carpal tunnel.

In long-term or severe cases, medical approaches do include surgical procedures to open the tunnel by scraping tissue away.  Unfortunately, in a significant number of cases, the scar tissue that forms following these surgical procedures re-compromises the tunnel and the syndrome returns.

In some trauma cases or when bone formation in the tunnel has deformed, surgery offers the only solution.  However, in most cases that’s not the problem.

POINT NUMBER SIX:  If you’re looking for Non-surgical therapy for Carpal Tunnel Syndrome, the good thing is that you don’t have to cut a wrist open to change the alignment of the bones in the wrist so that the tunnel can open up again.

Some skilled chiropractors have specific training in working with the eight carpal bones, and the two arm bones that connect with them.  These chiropractors can identify which bones need to be adjusted and which ones are aligned properly to maximize the space in the carpal tunnel.

Some of these chiropractors include those who are advanced proficiency rated in a technique called the Activator Method.  Other chiropractic techniques may be able to address these tiny bones individually as well, but this technique is exceptionally effective in my opinion. 

POINT NUMBER SEVEN:  If you decide to contact a chiropractor about a CTS challenge, be sure to ask if the doc is trained in identifying which specific bone or bones need to be adjusted and if the doctor knows how to isolate the adjustment to one wrist bone at a time.  He or she should have a criterion to identify which bone needs to be addressed and when the adjustment has been successfully executed.

As for the cock-up splint, I think of it as not much more than a Band aid.  The vitamin B6 could help however.  Pick up some at your local health food store.

Dr. Boatright, D.C., practices in Mesa, AZ.  www.drrickboatright.com.

See his books on Amazon at http://amzn.to/xUWk8h.