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Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
By Brigitte Synesael
Your Life-Your Choice www.Life-Choices.com

With greater demands being placed on people in the work place to work longer hours and produce faster results, there is also an increasing number of reports of wrist problems relating to Carpal Tunnel Syndrome. Although long, daily hours sitting at a computer is a common culprit, ANY repetitive hand movements, like typing or hammering, will result in Carpal Tunnel Syndrome over time. This would include certain Production Line Workers, Roofers, musicians and typists to name only a few.

In order to deal with this incredibly painful health issue, it is essential to first be sure that you have a correct diagnosis by a qualified and knowledgeable physician, preferably an orthopedic surgeon or a neurologist. There are many conditions that have similar symptoms to those of carpal tunnel syndrome but require different treatments; for example: A pinched nerve in your neck or shoulder can cause a similar numbness and tingling in the hand. So can diabetic neuropathy. Arthritis at the base of the thumb or in the hand can also cause similar symptoms.

In the wrist there is a circular-like band made up of bones and ligaments which is called the transverse carpal ligament. The center hole of this ligament is called the Carpal Tunnel. Through this tunnel runs tendons (that allow us to move our fingers and grasp objects), and the median nerve (which provides us with sensation in our fingers and thumb). The most common cause of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome is an inflammation of the tendons. This causes the tendons to swell which will eventually put so much pressure on the median nerve that it will no longer function properly. Aside from overuse, there are other instigators of swelling in this area. Fluid retention is one example, and fractures around the wrist and hand is another. Not only can a fracture itself cause swelling, but even a slight change in the shape of the bones as they heal can narrow the passage for the median nerve.

Although surgery is a common treatment in severe cases of this syndrome, there are a number of holistic, non-invasive treatments available as well. I encourage you to investigate all of your options and consult with your local health care provider to determine the best course of action for YOU.

Biofeedback is a specialized type of training which allows you to gain control over physiological reactions that are ordinarily unconscious and automatic. In other words, you consciously train your body to perform tasks differently (more constructively) than when you did them without thinking about it. The training methods are relatively simple, although they require complex and precise instrumentation. Once the specific mode of treatment has been determined, you are connected to a device similar to a computer to monitor the response of your movements. This non-invasive process involves sensitive biofeedback instruments that measure and feedback what is happening inside your body. This feedback about your physiology is immediate, ongoing, and exact.Over time you will be able to control your specific body function without the use of the computer. Often people use too much force in striking computer keys, grasping pens, pressing on guitar strings, etc. Using biofeedback for specific muscle groups can give valuable information about the level of muscle activity in performing these specific tasks.

Acupuncture has shown significant success in treating health issues such as Carpal Tunnel Syndrome. In fact many other modalities also use the acupuncture points to accomplish their goals in treatment. The November 1997 National Institute of Health (NIH) Panel Consensus Report Supports Acupuncture for a number of health issues, among them Carpal Tunnel Syndrome.

Reconstructive Therapy has been practiced in the United States for over 60 years and can provide a more cost-effective solution than surgery. Carpal tunnel syndrome is one of many afflictions that responds well to reconstructive therapy.

Anti-inflammatory herbs can be effective in reducing the inflammation of the tendons. This treatment can be used independently (depending on the severity of the condition) or in conjunction with other treatments.

A new type of massage called Specific Lymphatic Massage® can be performed by Massage Therapists, Kinesiologists, Physical Therapists, Nurses, Occupational Therapists, any health care provider who utilizes therapeutic body work as part of a Holistic Health care regimen. Specific Lymphatic Massage® requires specialized training and carries with it independent certification.

There are numerous other avenues to investigate as well. Magnetic Therapy, Hydrotherapy, Naturopathy, Orthomolecular Medicine, Acupressure, and Homeopathy all well recognized modalities and have options to offer you in your search of pain relief from Carpal Tunnel Syndrome. You may find a combination of treatments will work best for you.

----- Sources:

A Patient's Guide to Cumulative Trauma Disorders
Dr Malka's Orthopaedic Pages; Dr Malka
Dr. Celeste DeBease; Biofeedback Therapies;
Alternative Medicine; the Definitive Guide Carpal Tunnel Massage;

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