Carpel Tunnel Syndrome (CTS)

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CTS is a medical condition that is caused by the compression of the Median nerve as it passes through the carpel tunnel in the wrist. The carpel tunnel is created by the 8 bones in the wrist and the carpel ligament, this boundary creates a confined space through which the Median nerve can pass. The Median nerve supplies the sensation to the thumb, index and middle finger and half of your ring finger. It also provides the  nerve innovation to the muscles of the thumb and muscles in-between the first two digits.

When the nerve is compressed (squashed) within the tunnel you may experience tingling or numbness in the fingers and weakness in the hand. This is often worse at night and eased by shaking the hand.

Accurate diagnosis is essential as the symptoms of CTS can be confused with other conditions, for example Thoracic Outlet Syndrome; where a nerve is irritated on its route around the neck and shoulder.

Your osteopath will be able to use hands-on testing to work out where the irritation is coming from, and therefore work out which area needs to be treated.

Osteopathic treatment may involve techniques to reduce swelling and increase movement in the wrist, advice on using a wrist splint overnight, or working out how to alter daily life to avoid excessive wrist flexion for a mechanical cause as described above, however advice and treatment plans will vary from patient to patient.

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Should you need referral back to your GP, the treatment options may include, wrist splints, exercises, painkillers and possible referral for surgical decompression of the wrist.

The causes of CTS.

  • Pregnancy
  • Arthritis in the wrist
  • Previous injury and trauma to the wrist
  • Diabetes
  • Being over weight
  • Repetitive use and vibration.