Simple test one :
- Relax your wrist by placing your arm, from elbow to finger tip, on a table, palm up.
- Using your other hand, vigorously tap the inside of your wrist on the slight depression in the center of your wrist, along side the predominant tendon. Use the end of your finger and a quick downward motion.
If the pain is activated or increased, or if an electric-like sensation is felt, the test is positive – you have CTS. If there is no pain or sensation you may have it anyway: you will need the complicated test.
Simple test two:
- Hold your arms up such that your forearms are vertical. Relax your wrists and allow your hands to drop so your palms are facing the floor.
- Hold your arms this way for one minute.
If this position induces your symptoms chances are those symptoms are caused by CTS.
The sophisticated test: This test requires a small jolt of electricity to be sent through your arm. Low current is used; there is almost no sensation. The time delay in the nerve impulses traveling through your carpal tunnel are measured. Too much delay and the test is positive.
The Alternative Pathology
In order to develop an alternative treatment to the operation the following theoretical causes for CTS were formulated. Once they were formulated, the treatments were developed and used on myself. In the end, all that is significant is that the treatments worked. These are one way to avoid a painful experience – the operation:
- Performing repetitive hand motions with the wrist in the same position for long periods of time causes the bones that form the carpal tunnel to lose their ability to move and flex – they become fixated, literally stuck together. The free and unrestricted movement of these bones is essential to prevent pressure on the medial nerve.
- We constantly use the muscles that control our fingers, but we rarely use the muscles that make our wrist move (especially at a keyboard). As a result the wrist controlling muscles get weaker. To compensate for this weakness we often place more strain on our finger controlling muscles and tendons. This excessive use and strain causes inflammation of the tendon sheaths.
- People who have increased the amount of strenuous activity usually increase the size of their muscles. If their tendons increase in size in order to match the increased strain that the stronger muscles can now apply, the medial nerve can get crowded.
To summarize: the alternative pathology proposes that the pressure on the medial nerve can be increased by a loss of flexibility in the bone structure of the carpal tunnel, an imbalance in the use and strength of the muscles that control the fingers and the wrist, or an increase in the size of the tendons. The CTS solutions presented on this web page are based on this alternative pathology.
The best feature of the alternative pathology of CTS, just above, is that it readily produces ideas for alleviating CTS. The alternative approaches presented in this web page are directed at obtaining five separate goals. You can pick any or all for the following approaches based on your needs:
- Using trigger points to turn off the inflammation cycle.
- Regaining flexibility of the carpal tunnel bone structure, by stretching and making ergonomic adjustments to your work place.
- Strengthening the muscles that operate the wrist – not the fingers.
- Restoring flexibility and the full range of motion for the wrist.
- Reducing the diameter of the tendons in the carpal tunnel. This can be accomplished by causing the tendons to atrophy. (This goal is only for people who already have CTS as a result of strenuous activity).
Although there is some controversy regarding the effectiveness of vitamin B-6 for carpal tunnel syndrome, it is a recognized anti-inflammatory. My own experience and the experience of the people I have recommended it to indicate that it does offer significant relief. I take three B complex pills containing 100 mg a day. Since the minimum requirement of B6 is 10 mg per day, that is a lot of B6. However, some people take 400 mg a day. There does not seem to be any side effects, but it leaves your body pretty fast so you must spread out your dosages.
This herb with anti-inflammatory properties is gaining recognition, but there is no research on its effectiveness. I recently has good results with it to help my back which went out. However, dosage is a problem. If you purchase it in a health food store, the recommended dose for the 450 mg pills is one a day. I was taking three such pills, three times a day.
Although not as effective as CT Cream, it is the most widely recognized anti-inflammatory on the market. I have used Ibuprofen to prevent the start of CTS symptoms. Ibuprofen is not without side effects which you should study before taking.
The following table represents my own experience and the experiences of two friends who used these products. This is not a scientific study by any means.
|CT Cream||Most effective application we tried.|
|Doc’s Glucosamine Emu Oil MSM cream||Fairly effective, also some relief of arthritis.|
|Topricin CTS||No noticeable effect|
Things To Avoid
Avoid repetitive finger motions by breaking up your daily tasks. Do not perform a repetitive finger action: like typing for more than 30 minutes without doing something else. This is not as hard at it may seem. Most people have three or four different tasks they do every day. Instead of doing one until it is finished, switch around.
Do not overexert your finger actions, such as hard hand grasping, especially in a repetitious manner. The common problem causing activities are:
1) Using a screwdriver for a prolonged time – use an electric screwdriver or a variable speed electric drill with a screwdriver bit.
2) Cutting large amounts of paper with scissors – use electric scissors.
3) Sawing a lot of wood – buy an electric saber saw. They are less expensive, less dangerous, and quieter than a circular saw and they can cut a circle.
4) Hammering for long periods – get a friend to help. Switch off periodically. Use screws whenever you can.
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