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Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

The human hand is a marvel of dozens of joints, small muscles, and delicate senses. The more powerful muscles connect by tendons from the forearm, through a tunnel made of the arched "carpal" bones roofed by a fibrous band.

Running along with these tendons are vital nerves to the hand and fingers.

Carpal tunnel syndrome is a common problem of these nerves getting pinched. The hands go numb and tingly, and the grip gets weak. It can be very uncomfortable. Many sufferers awaken in the night with "dead" hands, and must hang them over the edge of the bed, or get up and shake them around. As it worsens, it will affect them more and more into the daytime, with any hand work, or prolonged gripping. Riding a bicycle or mowing the lawn can become an ordeal.

Overuse in repetitious jobs definitely contributes to inflammation of the nerve and tendon sheaths in the wrist, and the tunnel turns swelling back on itself as squeezing. A nerve fiber can only get the special nutrition it needs from the spinal cord, so any part downstream from the pressure begins to starve. It lets you know by pain and by numbness that it can no longer do its job of making signals. 

Circulation also plays a role. Wastes built up during work cannot be cleared if the circulation is poor, and they are toxic. The body reduces the stress by diluting them with water, swelling the nerves and tendons.

If a neurologist finds the nerves conduct electricity too slowly, surgery can be ordered to open up the carpal tunnel. It is not always a lasting solution.

Good studies show about 50% of cases referred for surgery can recover by taking high doses of vitamin B6. This vitamin will remove fluid from the nerve and tendon sheaths, and in drug doses has a distinct anti-inflammatory effect.

Many cases also get faster releif with acupuncture, by altering blood flow and the way the nerves handle traffic. Homeopathic injections into the carpal tunnel removes inflammation and break up fibrous adhesions. Physiotherapy can stretch the tunnel’s roof.

Exercises can build up the circulation to the tendons. Herbs and supplements for blood circulation may be necessary. A number of small steps can make a big result, without the risks of the knife, and the down time for rehabilitation.