Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
We have all noticed people with wrist supports, the customary marker of carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS). So what is the cause of this sometimes painful affliction?
Your wrist bones (8 of them) are collectively called carpals. There is a ‘tunnel’ through them, where the median nerve and tendons pass through, to your thumb and fingers. If there is tissue swelling in the tunnel area, then you will get numbness, tingling, and sometimes sharp pain that can go up the arm.
How is it treated?
Traditionally, the wrist is supported to restrict movement. This allows the swelling to subside. In severe cases a doctor may inject cortisone into the ‘tunnel’ to help reduce the swelling and thus, the pain. In extreme cases, surgery is the only apparent option.
Here’s the likely trigger point connection to CTS.
The scalene muscle group (in your neck) attaches to the c-spine and also to the first and second ribs. Scalene trigger points can shorten the muscle which in turn may compress the cervical spine and as well, pull the first two ribs UP towards your collar bone (clavicle).
The first rib, when pulled too close to the clavicle, will squeeze the blood vessels and nerves that pass through this area (a.k.a. thoracic outlet) on their way to and from the arm. The impeded returning blood flow and disturbed nerve impulses may cause pain, swelling and numbness in the arm and hand. These symptoms are commonly termed "thoracic outlet syndrome"; although the symptoms are often incorrectly diagnosed as carpal tunnel syndrome.
If you are experiencing wrist pain (e.g. CTS), and/or swelling in the hand/wrist, you may be suffering from trigger points in your scalene muscles.
Keep in mind that other TrPs in the arm, may also play a role in CTS.
When trigger points are causal to the CTS symptoms, removing them will eliminate the pain, swelling and numbness.
Please note: The referred pain from the scalenes can be almost anywhere in the arm, from the shoulder down to the wrist and into the fingers (tingling /numbness to middle, index finger and thumb). Some describe the pain, as having a toothache in the arm!
We offer 1-day and 5-day Trigger Point C.E. workshops that address CTS and related issues.
Check our Workshop dates/locations