CARPAL TUNNEL SYNDROME
SURGERY IS NOT THE ONLY OPTION!
Like so many other surgeries, Carpal Tunnel Surgery is a crap shoot. Sure, there are people who do well with the surgery. But if you talk to ten people, you will be lucky to find five that are thrilled with their results. Before having an irreversible Carpal Tunnel Surgery, talk to us about our SCAR TISSUE REMODELING & COLD LASER THERAPY protocol. You have nothing to lose and everything to gain!
Carpal Tunnel Syndrome is a cluster of symptoms that revolve around the hands and wrists (pain, tingling, numbness, weakness, etc). To understand why this happens, you must first understand what the carpal tunnel is. There are 10 almond-sized bones of the wrist called the “carpal bones”. At the deepest level, these bones are held together with dozens of ligaments. However, they are also bound together with a tissue analogous to the PLANTAR FASCIA, called the Palmar Fascia (sometimes called the Palmar Aponeurosis). This is the same tissue people have trouble with if they have DUPUYTREN’S CONTRACTURE.
As you can see, the Palmar Fascia plays a big part in holding the hand and wrist together. But the ligamentous connective tissues do not stop there. There is a thick band of tissue that surrounds the wrist in similar fashion to a wristband. This tissue is called The Retinaculum. On the palm side, it is called The Flexor Retinaculum or Transverse Carpal Ligament. The Flexor Retinaculum (a Retinaculum is a band of Connective Tissue that surrounds a Tendon or group of Tendons to hold them in place) is also known as the Transverse Carpal Ligament, attaches to carpal bones on the thumb side (scaphoid and trapezium), and stretches across the wrist to attach to two carpal bones on the pinky side (pisiform and hamate). The Flexor Retinaculum is actually tight enough to cause a slight inward “bowing” of the hand. In the bowed area, between the carpal bones and the Flexor Retinaculum is a “tunnel”. This is a tunnel that you have certainly heard of — the Carpal Tunnel. There are several anatomical structures that run inside the Carpal Tunnel. They include several muscle tendons, blood vessels, and most importantly for those who suffer from Carpal Tunnel Syndrome, the Median Nerve.
As you can see, there a lot of anatomical structures that must pass through the confined space of the Carpal Tunnel. This is not usually a problem. However, repetitive activities of just about any sort, can sometimes cause an ‘irritation’ or ‘compression’ of the Median Nerve as it travels through the Carpal Tunnel. But the real question on everyone’s mind is, “How do you treat the blasted stuff?”
TREATING PEOPLE WITH CARPAL TUNNEL SYNDROME
Although the scientific literature says that the only treatment scientifically proven to help Carpal Tunnel Syndrome is Carpal Tunnel Surgery, I would strongly disagree. There are a variety of things that you can do, and I always tell people to try the least invasive, easiest, and cheapest things first.
- VITAMIN B6 INTAKE: Because Vitamin B6 is so critical for the proper function of the nerve system, make sure that you get your B6. As you hopefully know from reading our patient literature, this B6 needs to come from food — not from a synthetic supplement (as crazy as it sounds, many synthetic B vitamins are made from a “Coal Tar” byproduct of FILM MANUFACTURING). Get your B6 from food or from WHOLE FOOD SUPPLEMENTS such as those made by Standard Process.
- NIGHT SPLINTS: Because Carpal Tunnel Syndrome is usually worse at night, a cheap pair of night splints ($30) from the local drugstore might do the trick. These simply keep you from flexing (bending) your wrists at night, thereby putting pressure (tension) on the Median Nerve.
- CHIROPRACTIC ADJUSTMENTS: Numbness or tingling is always the result of a nerve irritation. Although some people with numb hands actually have Carpal Tunnel Syndrome, a large portion of these people do not. They have SUBLUXATION (loss of normal alignment and motion) in certain areas of their cervical spine (neck). Every nerve from the lower half of the neck (not to mention the uppermost part of the back) makes up a group of nerves (the BRACHIAL PLEXUS) that eventually becomes, among other things, the Median Nerve. Numbness or tingling does not always mean that the problem can always be solved with adjustments, but as hundreds of my patients can attest, sometimes it can. Be aware that sometimes TOS can be confused for Carpal Tunnel Syndrome as well.
- FASCIAL RELEASE & SCAR TISSUE REMODELING: Because both the Palmar Fascia and the Flexor Retinaculum are essentially made from the same material (ELASTIC, COLLAGEN-BASED CONNECTIVE TISSUE), there is the distinct possibility of a thickening or derangement of these Fascia and LIGAMENTS in response to repeated mechanical stresses (see our FASCIAL ADHESIONS PAGE). To free up space in the Carpal Tunnel, Carpal Tunnel Surgery consists of simply going in and “cutting” the Flexor Retinaculum (and sometimes part of the Palmar Fascia). If you know people who have had this done, you know that sometimes it works, and sometimes it does not. And when it works, the results are not always long-lived. A major thrust of my practice is treating connective tissue. Before you do surgery, try the “TISSUE REMODELING“) .
- LASER THERAPY: At the end of 2010, I bought a Cold Laser for my own hands. My hands have taken quite a beating after two decades of adjusting patients, and although I did not have Carpal Tunnel Syndrome, this modality has me helped tremendously. In fact, the difference was noticeable after two or three treatments. The light from our Cold Laser penetrates about an inch below the surface of the skin, and stimulates photo (light) receptors that are found every cell in your body. When these photo receptors are stimulated at a particular frequency (600-900 nm), it causes the cell to dramatically increase mitochondrial activity (ATP production) in a process known as photobiomodulation. ATP is the one and only energy source that cells can use for anything and everything that they do, and is what all food products are ultimately converted to for energy. The scientific evidence is good, both anecdotally and empirically for the use of Cold Laser (SEE HERE).
Interestingly enough, there is new evidence pointing in a somewhat different direction. Some researchers believe that in similar fashion to other forms of PERIPHERAL NEUROPATHY such as Raynaud’s Phenomenon, RESTLESS LEG SYNDROME, and others, Carpal Tunnel Syndrome is actually an Autoimmune Disease, of which I have any number of BLOG POSTS ABOUT. To see my blog posts on CARPAL TUNNEL SYNDROME, just click the link.