Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

Most people have heard of carpal tunnel syndrome. What you might not know is that carpal tunnel syndrome is only one of a family of ailments in the upper limbs known as entrapment neuropathies. The other entrapment neuropathies are not as well-known in the mainstream as carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS), so often those who suffer from nerve symptoms in their forearms and hands frequently jump to conclusions without having an accurate diagnosis.

An entrapment neuropathy, also called nerve compression syndrome, occurs when a nerve is wedged or “pinched” against a bone, inflamed muscle. Aside from the median nerve (the one associated with CTS) there are two main nerves that help to control your arm and hand: the radial nerve and the ulnar nerve. Both are susceptible to compression, and the results can be painful!

Entrapment occurs under a number of conditions, most commonly:

  • When there is an injury originating at your neck or a disease of the cervical spine
  • When your elbow has been injured due to fractures or improper use
  • When your wrist has been injured due to fractures or Guyon canal alignment problems
  • An aneurysm or thrombosis in your arteries
  • Factors commonly associated with peripheral neuropathy, such as diabetes, rheumatism, alcoholism, or infection

Your radial nerve runs the length of your arm, and is responsible for both movement and sensation. Radial neuropathy usually occurs at the back of the elbow, and can present itself with many of the common symptoms of neuropathy such as tingling, loss of sensation, weakness and reduced muscle control (in this case, often difficulty in turning your palm upwards with your elbow extended).

A number of palsies affect the radial nerve, such as:

  • Saturday night palsy (also called Honeymooner’s palsy), where your radial nerve is compressed in your upper arm by falling asleep in a position where pressure is exerted on it by either furniture or a bed partner
  • Crutch palsy, where your nerve is pinched by poorly-fitted axillary crutches
  • Handcuff neuropathy, wherein tight handcuffs compress your radial nerve at your wrists

Two main conditions affect the ulnar nerve: Guyon’s canal syndrome and cubital tunnel syndrome. Guyon’s canal syndrome is almost exactly the same in symptoms as carpal tunnel syndrome (pain and tingling in the palm and first three fingers), but involves a completely different nerve. Guyon’s canal syndrome is caused by pressure on your wrists, often by resting them at a desk or workstation, and is frequently experienced by cyclists due to pressure from the handlebars.

Nearly everyone has experienced cubital tunnel syndrome: it’s the “dead arm” sensation we’ve all felt when we wake up after sleeping on top of our arm! Sleeping with your arm folded up compresses the ulnar nerve at your shoulder, causing it to effectively “cut off” feeling to your arm. As you probably know from experience, this sensation is unsettling but temporary.

Diagnosis for all compression neuropathies is fairly consistent: We’ll examine your arms for signs of neuropathy, and will likely ask you to perform several demonstrations of dexterity.  If we suspect you may have an underlying condition,lab tests may be recommended. To pinpoint the specific location of a compression, we may also suggest MRI.

Similar to carpal tunnel syndrome, most cases of compression neuropathy are mild. Good self care for mild cases involves ice, rest, and a change in habits of motion or stress that are causing the symptoms. Otherwise, professional care in office as well as at home is often indicated.

If you suffer from a compression neuropathy or have questions about this or any other kind of neuropathy, call us ASAP. As with any neuropathy, don’t wait! The sooner you get an accurate diagnosis, the more conservative options for treatment you’ll have.

Join the conversation at Beating Neuropathy!

References:

http://www.mdguidelines.com/neuropathy-of-radial-nerve-entrapment
http://emedicine.medscape.com/article/1285531-overview
http://emedicine.medscape.com/article/1244885-overview
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2599973/?tool=pmcentrez

Entrapment Neuropathy: More Than Just Carpal Tunnel! is a post from: Neuropathy | Neuropathy Doctors | Neuropathy Treatment | Neuropathy Treatments | Neuropathy Physical Therapists

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Carpal Tunnel Syndrome: A Common Household Neuropathy

If you experience sharp, shooting pains in your arms and wrists when sitting at your desk, driving, or doing other stationary activities, you probably don’t think of neuropathy.  You probably associate neuropathy with extensive nerve damage, like the kind that has to do with diabetes, severe injury, or cancer.  One of the most common forms, though, is a relatively minor condition that affects millions of healthy people: carpal tunnel syndrome.

The carpal tunnel is the small space between bones in your wrist that small tendons and the median nerve run through.  The median nerve runs from your forearm into your palm and controls movement and feeling in most of your hand, except for your little finger.  Carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS) occurs when there is pressure on the median nerve in your wrist from swelling or tension.  This is known as mononeuropathy, or neuropathy that affects only a single nerve.

People who suffer from carpal tunnel syndrome usually experience symptoms in their arms and hands that are similar to other kinds of neuropathy.  Soreness, numbness and tingling, loss of temperature sensation and problems with fine motor control are common.  Because the little finger is not controlled with the median nerve, symptoms that affect the other fingers but not the little finger could represent carpal tunnel syndrome.  At first, symptoms usually show up at night (people often sleep with flexed wrists) and go away by shaking the affected hand.  As time passes, though, symptoms can really stick around throughout the day.

So who is the most susceptible to getting carpal tunnel syndrome?  Many sufferers are simply genetically predisposed, usually because they have thinner wrists that constrict the carpal tunnel and the median nerve.  Women are three times more likely than men to develop the condition, again, because of thinner wrists. 

Many people associate carpal tunnel syndrome with heavy computer use.  This is probably unfounded; a 2001 study at the Mayo Clinic found that using a computer for up to 7 hours a day did not increase the likelihood of CTS developing.  Carpal Tunnel syndrome is not particularly confined to any specific industry or job over any other, but studies establish that it is more common in workers doing assembly, due to the repetitive nature of the task.  Because of the incorrect “conventional wisdom,” conditions such as tendonitis and writer’s cramp are often mistaken for carpal tunnel syndrome.

As with any neuropathy, it is important to identify carpal tunnel syndrome early to avoid permanent damage to the median nerve.  A NeuropathyDR® clinician will be able to examine your neck, back, arms, and hands to establish the nature of any symptoms you might be having.  The clinician may also recommend blood tests to check for related health conditions and nerve tests to determine any damage.

If you have been diagnosed with carpal tunnel syndrome, there are several routes for treatment.  Mild conditions can be treated at home with ice and rest to reduce swelling.   Avoid activities that cause repetitive wrist motions for extensive periods without resting.  Practice keeping your wrist in a neutral position, such as the way it rests when holding a glass of water.  Additionally, practice using your whole hand, not just your fingers, when you hold objects.

For more serious cases, or when damage to the nerve has already taken place, your NeuropathyDR® clinician may recommend more extensive measures.  If your symptoms have continued for more than a few weeks with home treatments, see your ND clinician as soon as possible!  Your ND clinician will be able to prescribe our specially designed CTS Protocol which is proving successful in centers around the country!

For the most serious cases of carpal tunnel syndrome, where mobility or nerve function is seriously impaired, surgery can be a solution. But almost never should you do this without trying the non-invasive ND/CTS Protocol First! [In these rare cases, a surgeon can reduce tension on the median nerve by cutting the ligament that constricts the carpal tunnel.]

If you have any questions about carpal tunnel syndrome or other neuropathic conditions, NeuropathyDR® is here to help!  Don’t hesitate to contact us—we can give you more information about your symptoms and help you find a NeuropathyDR® clinician in your area.

For more information on coping with carpal tunnel syndrome, get your Free E-Book and subscription to the Weekly Ezine “Beating Neuropathy” at http://neuropathydr.com.

http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/carpal-tunnel-syndrome/DS00326

http://www.ninds.nih.gov/disorders/carpal_tunnel/detail_carpal_tunnel.htm

http://www.webmd.com/pain-management/carpal-tunnel/carpal-tunnel-syndrome-topic-overview

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Do I Have Diabetic Neuropathy?

Diabetic neuropathy is a type of peripheral neuropathy specific to patients who have diabetes.

diabeticmeter 300x116 Do I Have Diabetic Neuropathy?

If you have diabetes and you have any of these symptoms[1]:

Diarrhea, nausea and vomiting
Difficulty swallowing
Deep pain, especially in your legs and feet
Loss of sensation and ability to feel warmth or cold
Muscle cramps
Numbness, tingling or burning in your arms, hands, legs or feet
Weakness
Dizziness, especially when you try to stand up
Drooping facial muscles
Loss of bladder control

You could have diabetic neuropathy. Diabetic neuropathy is a type of peripheral neuropathy specific to patients who have diabetes. If left untreated, diabetic neuropathy can lead to serious and possibly permanent nerve damage.

If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, you should seek treatment with a medical professional with experience in diagnosing and treating diabetic neuropathy like your local NeuropathyDR® clinician.

Why Does Diabetes Cause Neuropathy?

If your blood glucose levels aren’t controlled and have been high for significant period of time, the blood vessels that carry oxygen to your nerves can be damaged. Elevated blood glucose can also damage the sheath that covers and protects the nerves. That leaves them vulnerable to damage. Diabetic neuropathy is just the medical term for the nerve damage caused by elevated blood glucose levels.

What Happens to Your Body Once Those Nerves Are Damaged?

Diabetic neuropathy happens when the nervous system is damaged.

If your peripheral nervous system is damaged you can experience[2]

Numbness in your arms, hands, legs and feet
Inability to feel heat, cold or even pain in your arms, hands, legs and feet
Burning or tingling or even the “pins and needles” feeling you get when your legs or arms “go to sleep”
Changes in the shape of your feet caused by weakened muscles
Carpal tunnel syndrome

If your neuropathy affects your autonomic nervous system, you can experience

Digestive problems like nausea, vomiting, constipation or diarrhea
Erectile dysfunction
Irregular heart beat
Loss of bladder control
Inability to regulate your blood pressure

How Can You Reduce Your Risk of Diabetic Neuropathy?

The best defense against diabetic neuropathy is to get and keep your blood sugar under control. Your best bet for doing that is proper diet, strictly monitoring your blood sugar levels and always taking your diabetes medication as prescribed by your doctor.

A good diet for controlling your blood sugar includes:

Fresh fruit and vegetables
Lean meats
High fiber
Whole grains
No sweets

Your NeuropathyDR® Clinician is a specialist has an exclusive treatment protocol with proven results for diabetic neuropathy patients. An integral part of that treatment protocol is nutrition counseling and diet planning. Your specialist will sit down with you and plan your meals to include the proper portions of each of these categories on a daily basis to make sure that your blood sugar remains as constant as possible.

Assess your current medical situation and take note of any of the symptoms we described. If you are experiencing any of these issues associated with diabetic neuropathy, contact your local NeuropathyDR® and take full advantage of their expertise in the treatment of peripheral neuropathies, including diabetic neuropathy.

For more information on coping with diabetic neuropathy, get your Free E-Book and subscription to the Weekly Ezine “Beating Neuropathy” at http://neuropathydr.com.

[1] www.joslin.org/info/diabetic_neuropathy_nerve_damage_an_update.html

[2] http://www.ninds.nih.gov/disorders/peripheralneuropathy/detail_peripheralneuropathy.html

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Carpal Tunnel Syndrome and NeuropathyDR Treatment Centers

Carpal Tunnel Syndrome:  A Common Household Neuropathy

If you experience sharp, shooting pains in your arms and wrists when sitting at your desk, driving, or doing other stationary activities, you probably don’t think of neuropathy.  You probably associate neuropathy with extensive nerve damage, like the kind that has to do with diabetes, severe injury, or cancer.  One of the most common forms, though, is a relatively minor condition that affects millions of healthy people: carpal tunnel syndrome.

The carpal tunnel is the small space between bones in your wrist that small tendons and the median nerve run through.  The median nerve runs from your forearm into your palm and controls movement and feeling in most of your hand, except for your little finger.   Carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS) occurs when there is pressure on the median nerve in your wrist from swelling or tension.  This is known as mononeuropathy, or neuropathy that affects only a single nerve.

People who suffer from carpal tunnel syndrome usually experience symptoms in their arms and hands that are similar to other kinds of neuropathy.  Soreness, numbness and tingling, loss of temperature sensation and problems with fine motor control are common.  Because the little finger is not controlled with the median nerve, symptoms that affect the other fingers but not the little finger could represent carpal tunnel syndrome.  At first, symptoms usually show up at night (people often sleep with flexed wrists) and go away by shaking the affected hand.  As time passes, though, symptoms can really stick around throughout the day.

So who is the most susceptible to getting carpal tunnel syndrome?  Many sufferers are simply genetically predisposed, usually because they have thinner wrists that constrict the carpal tunnel and the median nerve.  Women are three times more likely than men to develop the condition, again, because of thinner wrists. 

Many people associate carpal tunnel syndrome with heavy computer use.  This is probably unfounded; a 2001 study at the Mayo Clinic found that using a computer for up to 7 hours a day did not increase the likelihood of CTS developing.  Carpal Tunnel syndrome is not particularly confined to any specific industry or job over any other, but studies establish that it is more common in workers doing assembly, due to the repetitive nature of the task.  Because of the incorrect “conventional wisdom,” conditions such as tendonitis and writer’s cramp are often mistaken for carpal tunnel syndrome.

As with any neuropathy, it is important to identify carpal tunnel syndrome early to avoid permanent damage to the median nerve.  A NeuropathyDR® clinician will be able to examine your neck, back, arms, and hands to establish the nature of any symptoms you might be having.  The clinician may also recommend blood tests to check for related health conditions and nerve tests to determine any damage.

It's Important To Have a CORRECT Diagnosis before treatment!

If you have been diagnosed with carpal tunnel syndrome, there are several routes for treatment.  Mild conditions can be treated at home with ice and rest to reduce swelling.   Avoid activities that cause repetitive wrist motions for extensive periods without resting.  Practice keeping your wrist in a neutral position, such as the way it rests when holding a glass of water.  Additionally, practice using your whole hand, not just your fingers, when you hold objects.

For more serious cases, or when damage to the nerve has already taken place, your NeuropathyDR® clinician may recommend more extensive measures.  If your symptoms have continued for more than a few weeks with home treatments, see your ND clinician as soon as possible!  Your ND clinician will be able to prescribe our specially designed CTS Protocol which is proving successful in centers around the country!

For the most serious cases of carpal tunnel syndrome, where mobility or nerve function is seriously impaired, surgery can be a solution. But almost never should you do this without trying the non-invasive ND/CTS Protocol First! [In these rare cases, a surgeon can reduce tension on the median nerve by cutting the ligament that constricts the carpal tunnel.]

If you have any questions about carpal tunnel syndrome or other neuropathic conditions, NeuropathyDR® is here to help!  Don’t hesitate to contact us—we can give you more information about your symptoms and help you find a NeuropathyDR® clinician in your area.

 

http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/carpal-tunnel-syndrome/DS00326

http://www.ninds.nih.gov/disorders/carpal_tunnel/detail_carpal_tunnel.htm

http://www.webmd.com/pain-management/carpal-tunnel/carpal-tunnel-syndrome-topic-overview