Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

Carpal Tunnel Syndrome is an entrapment of the median nerve at the carpal tunnel in the wrist. Nerve entrapment is often referred to as a “pinched nerve.”

Symptoms include tingling, numbness or pain in the hand, specifically in the palm, thumb, index or middle fingers. In more severe cases, weakness in grip strength and atrophy in the muscles of the thumb and hand may occur.

Not all wrist and hand pain is carpal tunnel syndrome. There are other nerves, specifically the ulnar nerve and radial nerve, that can become entrapped or irritated and cause symptoms. Neither of these two nerves run through the carpal tunnel.

The ulnar nerve would typically cause symptoms in the pinky and/or ring finger. The radial nerve would typically cause symptoms on the dorsal side of the hand (opposite the palm) in the web between the thumb and index finger.

All of the above nerves can also be irritated or entrapped anywhere along their course, from the cervical spine (neck) all the way down through the shoulder, arm, elbow, forearm, wrist and hand.

Median nerve irritation above the carpal tunnel, in the elbow or shoulder, for example, can cause hand symptoms that appear to be carpal tunnel syndrome.

It is essential to be evaluated and properly diagnosed in order to determine an accurate diagnosis and course of treatment.

A recent study in the journal “Brain” concluded that acupuncture is effective in treating carpal tunnel syndrome and improving median nerve function by stimulating changes in the brain. This NY Times article discusses the research.

We use a combination of acupuncture, soft tissue therapy such as Stecco Fascial Manipulation and Active Release Techniques, joint manipulation, cold laser therapy, PEMF and nutritional interventions depending on the individual’s needs.