Carpal tunnel syndrome is a problem that affects the hand and wrist when there is pressure on the median nerve, which supplies sensation to the thumb, index, middle, and half of the ring (4th) finger. People with carpal tunnel syndrome may have a narrowing of the “tunnel” (made up by the wrist bones) and experience weakness, pain, numbness, and inflammation. The medical approach is to brace up the area, provide life-long anti-inflammatory medications (which will further make the problem worse if you read the arthritis section), and if that doesn’t work then surgery is recommended. There is a lot to deal with here – but I will address a few of the reasons for this condition.
The function of the muscles of the wrist and hand are most important. Finding out what is causing the weaknesses or over-firing of each individual muscle is taken into consideration. So there is almost always a lot of manual therapy work that needs to be done such as muscle trigger points, muscle fiber injuries, acupressure meridians, and joint mobilization.
Chemically, making sure inflammation is being dealt with as well as making sure the necessary components for joint repair are present is important. You can read about this in the arthritis section and click here for a full article on tissue and joint repair over at my Sock Doc site.
Additionally, there is a clinical correlation to carbohydrate intolerance/insulin resistance. When this occurs in many people, the wrist flexors (as well as other muscles) are compromised. This sets the stage for a problem in that area to arise.
Remember, carpal tunnel is just a fancy name given to a problem of the hand/wrist area. Naming it does absolutely nothing but make your doctor and insurance company happy. Diagnosing the PROCESS that causes the symptom is the goal. That is what gets people well – figuring out why the problem is there and how to truly correct it at its source!