Carpal Tunnel and Why You Shouldn’t Get Surgery!
Carpal Tunnel Syndrome; that burning, aching pain (or numbness) in your wrist or palm. Health care professionals are often quick to jump to the suggestion of getting surgery to “cure” it.
But STOP and PAUSE. I’m going to encourage you to consider an alternate perspective and an alternate solution. This solution is one that will have you feeling better faster and without unnecessary scar tissue!
Why not Surgery?
Even though it’s claimed to be a “highly successful” surgery, a lot of people can report otherwise. I have met countless people who have had carpal tunnel surgery whose pain remained unchanged. And those who no longer experience pain in their wrist and hands after the surgery, mysteriously find themselves with pain elsewhere. For example one client’s carpal tunnel in both wrists has strangely changed into pain in both thumbs!
Carpal Tunnel Syndrome is when the nerves that run through the “Carpal Tunnel” in the front of the wrist get compressed. The surgery involves cutting into the wrist to release the tension on the nerves involved. Eek!
Why I’m not a fan of Carpal Tunnel Surgery if there’s another option (which there usually is)
1.)It could actually make the problem worse!
You are taking a very small space (tunnel) and adding scar tissue to it. Therefore you are making the tunnel smaller and more vulnerable. In my experience this makes you more prone to a recurrence of carpal tunnel in the future or other conditions of the hand.
2.)It’s only addressing a symptom and not the real problem.
It is often performed on both hands. If there is one thing I have learnt about the body it’s that things don’t happen from sheer coincidence. It’s not a coincidence that both hands are painful. They have something in common. Therefore cutting in to both wrists is treating the symptom and not the cause.
More about the Cause of Carpal Tunnel
If both wrists are being affected, it means the root cause of the problem is from somewhere both of those nerves come from. Usually this is the neck!
Very often the nerves causing the pain are already on stretch or under some compression due to posture, joint restriction, tight muscles, etc. Then you combine that with some tightness of the forearm muscles and you’re body can no longer handle that much nerve compression from multiple places. To get technical this is called a “Double Crush Syndrome” and it’s much more common than you’d think! This can be the case if your pain is in one wrist or both.
The forearm tightness and compression through the carpal tunnel likely wouldn’t cause such an effect if the nerve weren’t already withstanding so much compression from the neck.
What you should do instead of surgery
So instead of surgery, I encourage you to get in touch with a therapist who is well versed in nerve injuries. Don’t just look for someone to treat Carpal Tunnel Syndrome but instead nerve injuries anywhere in the body. You want someone who understands how nerves work globally and not someone who specializes in just one part of the body.
Here at Competitive Edge, we would take a look at your whole upper body including the tension through the skull and neck where the nerves originate from. We would look at the posture and alignment of your entire spine, your shoulders, as well as the tension down the arms (bicep, forearm, wrist, and hand). The therapist will then provide hands on treatment to eliminate this tug of war on your nerves by loosening up the structure causing the compression (likely from your neck but where ever the compression is occurring for you). We will give you exercises to do from home to relieve the tension and eliminate the compression causing the Carpal Tunnel Syndrome.
One more thing NOT to do for your Carpal Tunnel
Western medicine tells us that we need to have all of the answers wrapped up with a nice little bow on it prior to beginning any course of treatment. But I hate to tell you, that’s not real life. It’s also not necessary.
Let me explain. You will likely first see a family doctor for your wrist and hand pain. Then you might have to wait a week or two to be able to see this doctor. They might then send you for an ultrasound on the wrist to be able to confirm the diagnosis of Carpal Tunnel. This will likely take a few months depending on where you live. From there they may want to confirm with a nerve conduction test. This also might take months to have done and is in my opinion very unnecessary. The only nerve located in the Carpal Tunnel is the median nerve. It is also the only nerve that can cause burning pain in the palm. This is easily diagnosed by palpating the median nerve and the carpal tunnel during an appointment. In addition, confirming precisely which branch of the nerve is impinged will not change the recommended course of action ( or in our case, the treatment we would provide to help you feel better). So this additional testing and additional information really has no bearing on how we would proceed anyways!
Then if your doctor wants to refer you for surgery after the nerve conduction test, you are then looking at 6 months or more for a consultation with a surgeon. All in all this process could take a 1-2 years and would mean you are living with carpal tunnel pain daily during this time!
Starting to see my point about why all of this waiting, testing and suffering is so unnecessary?
Treating Carpal Tunnel Syndrome without Surgery!
An Athletic Therapist can easily determine if you have carpal tunnel syndrome or not. They will confirm that the nerve is compressed and from where.
We can do this by asking about your symptoms, triggers and performing an in depth evaluation. An “AT” use only our eyes, hands and brains to determine this. We can do so without you having to suffer in pain during these lengthy wait times and unnecessary tests. Even better, we can perform hands on treatment the SAME DAY to help you get some relief and to start correcting the problem. From my experience, because we are treating the real problem, your pain isn’t going to return or resurface somewhere else. You will feel head to toe better and be less likely to have future injuries.
With this type of treatment, you are very likely to be pain free before you ever get off the wait list to see a Surgeon! If you live in Calgary, get in touch to learn more. I encourage you to schedule yourself a Free starter session so that we can point you in the right direction!