“The happiness of most people is not ruined by great catastrophes or fatal errors, but by the repetition of slowly destructive little things.”— Ernest Dimnet, French writer and philosopher
Injuries don’t always happen from a singular event, even if the symptoms sometimes indicate otherwise. The pain and other symptoms may take years to accumulate into something that requires attention from a healthcare professional. Such is almost always the case with Carpal Tunnel Syndrome (CTS), which evolves through “the repetition of slowly destructive little things.”
It is true that the author of the introductory quotation was not referring to illness or injury but to thinking and reasoning. It is an uncanny definition of CTS, nevertheless. That’s because this often painful and numbing malady is caused by repetitive motion on a regular basis over a sustained span of time. It was once regarded as a disorder of factory assembly line workers who repeated the same hand and arm motions day after day, as well as typesetters at newspapers and magazines.
Cases of CTS have also been verified as a result of sudden trauma, such as injuries from a car accident, but the majority of cases, by far, are the result of repetitive use of the hands, wrists, arms and fingers.
In the age of information technology, with its widespread use of computers for word processing and even gaming, CTS is affecting more people than ever. The surgery to correct the pain and side effects derived from this syndrome have become increasingly common, as is follow-up plastic surgery.
Compressing “Tunnel” Pinches, Inflames Nerve
Some people have smaller carpal tunnels than others, and that is a factor contributing to a person’s vulnerability. The carpal tunnel, situated in the wrist and just below the palm, is a tunnel-like enclosure around the median nerve and a composition of ligament, tendons and eight small bones. It is the median nerve that is damaged by repetitive motion and the “tunnel” compresses around it. Inflammation leads to pain and numbness.
The median nerve runs the length of a person’s forearm and to the juncture of the hand itself, but it is when the tunnel in the wrist constricts and squeezes that nerve when the symptoms eventually emerge. This usually develops over time, perhaps initially with a numbness in the wrist and in the second and fourth fingers.
CTS is one of the most common work-related injuries of the 21st Century. There have been a number of studies confirming the effectiveness of chiropractic medicine in easing the pain and other symptoms of this condition. Most notable was a 2007 study in which two different chiropractic protocols proved to be equally effective in the following improvements: nerve conduction or functionality, wrist motion and strength and “daily activity function.” Perhaps most importantly, patient satisfaction of those tested was rated high.
As is the case with any condition influenced by stressors and damage to nerves, tendons and bones, chiropractic care is an option for relieving CTS symptoms. The approach at Oakland Spine & Physical Therapy, with its “nervous system experts” implementing the Butler Spine Program through holistic healing and non-invasive treatments, is to help restore normal use of the wrist and hand.