Carpal tunnel syndrome can cause pain and other symptoms in the hand. It is caused by pressure on a nerve in the wrist. Treatment is usually effective.
There are eight small bones called carpal bones in the wrist. A ligament (also called retinaculum) lies across the front of the wrist. Between this ligament and the carpal bones is a space called the carpal tunnel. The tendons that attach the forearm muscles to the fingers pass through the carpal tunnel. A main nerve to the hand (median nerve) also goes through this tunnel before dividing into smaller branches in the palm.
The median nerve gives feeling to the thumb, index and middle fingers, and half of the ring finger. It also controls the movement of the small muscles at the base of the thumb.
This syndrome is a set of symptoms which is thought to be caused by compression (squashing) of the median nerve in the carpal tunnel. About 1 in 1,000 people develops this syndrome each year. Most cases occur in people aged in their 40s and 50s, but it can occur at any age. It is also common during pregnancy. Women are affected 2-3 times more often than men.
Symptoms can vary from person to person from mild to severe. One or both hands may be affected. Symptoms tend to come and go at first, often after you use the hand. Typically, symptoms are worse at night and may wake you up. The symptoms may be eased for a while by raising the hand up or hanging it down. Flicking the wrist may also give relief. Symptoms persist all the time if the condition becomes severe.
In most cases it is not clear why it occurs. It is thought that some minor changes occur in the tendons and/or other structures going through the carpal tunnel. This may cause an increase in pressure within the tunnel. The increase in pressure is thought to compress and restrict the blood supply to the median nerve. As a result, the function of the median nerve is affected causing the symptoms. Carpal tunnel syndrome is more common in manual workers, especially with jobs using a lot of wrist movement such as scrubbing or wringing. So, overuse of the hand may be a factor in some cases to trigger the changes in the structures in the carpal tunnel, leading to this condition developing.
Your genes may play a part. There seems to be some hereditary (genetic) factor. About 1 in 4 people with carpal tunnel syndrome has a close family member (father, mother, brother, sister) who also has or had the condition.
Bone or arthritic conditions of the wrist such as rheumatoid arthritis or wrist fractures may lead to carpal tunnel syndrome.
Various other conditions are associated with carpal tunnel syndrome. For example: pregnancy, obesity, an underactive thyroid, diabetes, the menopause, other rare diseases, and a side-effect of some drugs. Some of these conditions cause water retention (oedema) which may affect the wrist and cause carpal tunnel syndrome.
Partly because of the very fact that carpal tunnel is not a solely "wear and tear" condition, it can respond particularly well to Scenar treatment. As a zonal therapy, Scenar can help address possible causative factors outside the main area of complaint. In the case of carpal tunnel, this can mean for instance muscles and tendons in the neck and shoulders, which may be at least as successful as treating the wrist, hand and forearm. And Scenar is well suited to reducing the main symptoms observed with carpal tunnel: inflammation, swelling, numbness, and referred sensation.
"Morning Jenny and Steve, just to say that yesterdays treatment worked very well on my shoulder and wrist. Yesterday I started a decorating job of a 12 horse stable, a big place! For the last two years I would have never attempted such a large job with the pain in my shoulder and the carpal tummel syndrome in my left wrist. However you have put that right for me. Yesterday I decorated the front of the stable all using my left hand! Thank you so very much, I'm no longer disabled and my hand is feeling so much better. Thank you again."