Carpal tunnel syndrome; better options that are more effective than surgery or wrist splints at night.
A common problem many people experience is pain in the elbows, wrist, and thumb. Often, after the problems have been poorly addressed, the person will begin to experience numbness in usually the first three fingers of the hand, but may actually have the entire hand go numb at night. In the worst cases, after years of being ignored, atrophy can occur in the thenar eminence on the thumbs and you may be dropping things as well.
Patients are often told they have tendonitis, De Quervain’s tenosynovitis, Carpal Tunnel Syndrome, ulnar entrapment as well as other conditions that often have itis or some other medical term, but is that type of diagnosis helpful since the diagnosis does not explain or describe why the condition exists.
The problem with old ideas such as bracing the wrist.
The splint is designed to eliminate motion, yet, once the splints are taken off, the wrists often are sore, weak, and painful. The person is also likely to experience other symptoms since the splint works on restricting the painful area, rather than addressing why the area is painful. In the worst cases, a neurologist may order a test called an NCV or nerve conduction velocity test which is often used to green-light surgery on the wrist to relieve pressure on the nerve.
While some people report some relief, others develop other problems with this such as a permanently weak grip, and other problems along the upper kinetic chain (series of joints from the wrist, to the elbow to the shoulder). You can understand this better by reading Cheating Mother Nature, What You Need to Know to Beat Chronic Pain which describes in easy-to-read concepts why the condition occurs and what you as a healthcare consumer to do about it.
Understanding the problems in the wrist and arms requires understanding why you have the problem.
A healthier way to look at the conditions of the arm is to understand why your arm elbow or wrist would hurt and why you are experiencing numbness. Most often, a thorough musculoskeletal evaluation is more helpful than expensive tests such as the NCV because many of these problems in the arm are secondary to malfunctions in the lower part of the body. A malfunctioning upper kinetic chain can and often results in pain, and numbness as the tissues in the forearm tighten and nerve root entrapments along the path of the arm which will make the NCV positive, but not solve the problem appropriately if surgery is performed, since the carpal tunnel, located at the wrist tightened due to mechanical issues.
The most common reason people experience problems in the shoulder, wrist, and elbow has to do with body style or posture, which begins at the feet. The more that the feet turn out or toe out, the more the shoulder rolls in. Also, low arches or flat feet have a similar effect. Rothbart calls this bio-implosion which causes the shoulders to roll forward. When the shoulders roll forward, they no longer function properly, the body does not distribute forces properly, and we lose external rotation in the arms which stresses the elbows, wrist, and thumb and with repeated usage, develops tightness in the myofascia (connective tissues surrounding the muscles and nerves), which develops into nerve entrapments, tight forearms, strained joints, and pain.
When this happens asymmetrically, the problems created in the pelvis (tortipelvis), distort the core section responsible for how we distribute forces throughout the body as we walk and perform athletics, which also distorts the rib cage giving rise to problems in the arms, and also shoulder and neck pain due to tension on the shoulders.
Holistic evaluation and Treat-Test-Treat is a better approach; here’s why.
A better mainstream approach is available, and many therapists as well as sports chiropractors are employing an idea called active evaluation and treatment. Rather than just looking at the problem, calling it something, and then doing something to it, or bracing it, or as we see in most athletes now taping it, many healthcare providers are using a protocol of treat- test – treat. The reason this is more effective is that when an area improves and fires (coordinates motion) properly, strength is restored, we avoid using the wrong muscular areas which is why we tighten up and our bodies function better.
Taking this idea one step further, doctors who are holistic in their thinking will take your history, look at your body mechanics, and then connect the dots so you and they can better understand your problem before proceeding with a planned method of treatment. This is important because it greatly reduces treatment times because the treatment is most likely to be appropriate for the condition being treated. Instead of doing stuff to it, they are understanding the mechanism of your problem and working backward to resolve the mechanism.
To understand this idea further, and to help you best find those who are capable of helping you figure out your problem, read Cheating Mother Nature, what you need to Know to beat chronic pain which is available through Amazon.com and other major booksellers.
A coordinated plan of treatment, the use of shoe inserts and muscular treatments such as Active Release Techniques (r), Graston Technique, Myofascial Release combined with exercises and chiropractic extremity manipulation can resolve most upper body pain problems such as wrist, elbow, and shoulder pain and even nerve entrapments without the use of drugs or surgery. The treatments alone are effective but by using the right thought process and understanding the kinetic chain malfunction correctly, most patients can avoid costly, disabling, and risky drugs, surgeries, and rehab plans that cannot possibly work since they show a lack of understanding of the causation of the condition they are designed to treat.
Find out more about a better method to solve the problem of arm and wrist pain, as well as the symptoms of numbness in the hands and the wrist. Unfortunately, most medical physicians do not recommend this type of treatment that has a proven track record.
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