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The Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
You May NOT Have a Wrist Problem at All! Discover the Blazingly Obvious
Area of Your Body That Doctors May Miss When Diagnosing
Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
By Dr. Donald Liebell
The U.S. Department of Labor called Carpal Tunnel Syndrome (CTS) the “chief occupational hazard of the 90’s”… disabling workers in epidemic proportions. “Carpal Tunnel Syndrome” affects over 8 million Americans. It’s also the #1 reported medical problem, accounting for about 50% of all work related injuries. And while over 200,000 surgeries are performed annually, reports have revealed only about 25% of all patients are able to return to their previous professions following surgery…and up to 36% of carpal tunnel syndrome patients require unlimited medical treatment. Hmm…
Could it be that carpal tunnel surgery is something to be questioned more carefully? Carpal tunnel syndrome isn't like a broken bone or a cut. It develops slowly; it's barely noticeable. One might not even take it seriously at first. But the symptoms slowly build and build. It could start with some numbness and tingling... then it might become more difficult to type at the computer. So you give your family doctor a visit. If you're like many people, here's what you've been told: "You’ve got carpal tunnel syndrome. Take this medicine and wear these wrist braces... come back if it doesn't work." The problem here is that the exact same symptoms of "Carpal Tunnel Syndrome" can have several different causes... many of which are NOT even near your wrist!
FACT: If your doctor doesn't examine or consider those other areas...you have NOT been given a thorough examination for your condition. Any doctor that assumes you have true carpal tunnel syndrome, simply because you have wrist or hand pain, tingling, numbness or weakness is "MISSING THE BOAT!" If a doctor assumes that your wrist is the ONLY cause of the symptoms, and focuses treatment only on that, the same criticism applies.
Myth: Carpal Tunnel Syndrome is Caused by Computer Usage. Reality: A 2005 Harvard medical study reports that Carpal Tunnel Syndrome is simply NOT caused by computer usage! A 2001 Mayo Clinic neurology study reported the same. You’ll soon understand why!
Why treatment for Carpal Tunnel Syndrome may fail
Fortunately for you, if your doctor's treatments fail it doesn’t mean you're incurable. It may simply be that nobody was looking in the RIGHT place, or places. If the diagnosis is WRONG; the treatment is likely to be WRONG too. Again, focusing exclusively on the WRIST is a huge mistake when considering the symptoms of pain, tingling, numbness and weakness in the wrist and hand.
Here's why: Wrist pain, tingling, numbness, and weakness are symptoms of NERVE entrapment. In other words, the nerves that travel from your brain to your fingers must be "pinched" or compressed somewhere along that pathway. The amazing thing about your nervous system is that interference in one place can give you symptoms in other places…far away from the interference. Because of the complexity of the nerve pathways from your BRAIN, down and out through your NECK... through your SHOULDER area... down your ARM... and finally... through your wrist... It is possible that...
You May NOT Even Have Carpal Tunnel Syndrome! If you think that all cases of wrist or hand pain, tingling, numbness or weakness are caused by Carpal Tunnel Syndrome... Think again! The TRUTH: solid scientific evidence reveals that many cases of so-called “carpal tunnel syndrome” have little or nothing to do with the wrist at all!
What Exactly IS Carpal Tunnel Syndrome?
The term "carpal" simply means WRIST. The Carpal Tunnel is: a small tunnel or canal inside the wrist. It's formed by the bones of the wrist, which are of course called: CARPALS. The other part that makes up the Carpal Tunnel is a ligament - a tough band between some of the bones. There Are 3 Structures Inside the Carpal Tunnel:
1. The Median Nerve – controls some hand movement and sensation
2. Nine Flexor Tendons that enable you to curl your wrist and fingers
3. Blood vessels
"True Blue" Carpal Tunnel Syndrome is when the MEDIAN NERVE is compressed
or entrapped within the CARPAL TUNNEL. What few people seem to understand is
that the MEDIAN NERVE originates in the NECK. Then it travels under your collarbone,
down the center of your forearm and finally through the carpal tunnel to the hand muscles.
Why is this SO important?
There are 8 possible areas where the nerve can be compressed!
Consider some of the symptoms of MEDIAN NERVE Compression
(not necessarily Carpal Tunnel Syndrome): Pain in the Wrist…
Numbness in the fingers… Tingling or other abnormal hand sensations…
Weakness of hands… Neck Pain… Swelling.
These are ALL symptoms commonly misdiagnosed as Carpal Tunnel Syndrome…
when in fact… they are caused by Median Nerve compression in ANY or ALL of the 8 areas!
How Does The Median Nerve Become Compressed?
The Median Nerve comes straight out between the bones of your NECK
If your doctor does not properly examine your neck, as well as all possible “crush sites” he/she is missing the boat and should not (in my opinion) be treating you for "carpal tunnel syndrome! See in the diagram to the left how the nerves travel down the arm to the hand? This means that a problem anywhere from the NECK to the actual carpal tunnel can cause nerve compression.
Misaligned bones in the neck, bulging discs, tight neck muscles, an extra rib (some people are born with them), shoulder or elbow injuries, inflamed tendons, and misaligned wrist bones can ALL compress the Median Nerve, causing in the SAME SYMPTOMS! Since you're aware that most doctors are trained to treat symptoms, you can understand how they might miss the neck and the other zones when treating “carpal tunnel syndrome?”
Treatment for Carpal Tunnel Syndrome and Other Median Nerve Entrapment
The proper treatment is determined through proper diagnosis. For example, if the cause of symptoms of hand tingling, numbness, weakness and/or pain is coming from the neck, the primary treatment could be Atlas Orthogonal, manual therapies, Cold Laser therapy , and/or home traction devices. If the wrist is indeed the culprit, Cold Laser therapy would be my first choice, and/or Kinesio-taping. These have all been outstanding treatments for median nerve compression syndromes. If you have TRUE Carpal Tunnel Syndrome (Median Nerve compression at the wrist, or carpal tunnel), Cold Laser therapy is an outstanding treatment method which is painless and non-surgical. It has been effective even for patients who have had failed wrist or neck surgery. The laser is even used as a diagnostic tool to locate areas of nerve entrapment.
-Dr. Donald Liebell
Donald K. Liebell, D.C., B.C.A.O.
477 Viking Drive Suite 170
Virginia Beach VA 23452
8:30AM - 6:30PM M,W,F
(and by Special Appointment)
The Liebell Clinic: Chronic Pain & Wellness Solutions
The Liebell Clinic: 477 Viking Drive Virginia Beach, VA 23452 (757) 631-9799 www.LiebellClinic.com