Everyone has "Carpal Tunnel". In fact, everyone has two Carpal Tunnels. However, not everyone has Traumatically Induced Carpal Tunnel Syndrome. First, let us talk about the anatomy of the carpal tunnel, which is located in our wrists. There is a rubber band around our wrist called the fascia, which holds the medial nerve, ligaments and bones in place. Most our our muscles begin and end with tendons which attach to bony landmarks on our skeletal system. When our flexor muscles of our forearm are overstretched in a car accident the muscles become agitated and inflamed. This comes about because we may reach out to stop ourselves from going forward towards that dashboard of the car when we are rear-ended and the direct impact of our wrist causes damage to the carpal tunnel. This mechanism of injury is like a (F.O.O.S.H) injury, the acronym stands for Fall Onto Outstretched Hand. The F.O.O.S.H injury is most common in a slip and fall accident, so for example, you are walking on an icy Brooklyn Boulevard or Hennepin Avenue, when all of a sudden you slip and to stop yourself you reach out your hand to stop your head from hitting the cement. Nest thing you know, the carpal tunnel is injured. The swelling and inflammation squeezes the medial nerve against the ligaments, causing carpal tunnel pain.
Other Causes of Carpal Tunnel
Common repetitive motions include typing, knitting, using a jack hammer, hammering nails such as in building a house and rowing a boat for a long distance. A fracture in the wrist creates inflammation and can trigger Carpal Tunnel Syndrome. Car accidents, sporting accidents, catching ourselves from a fall can also contribute to inflammation of the Carpal Tunnel. Pregnancy can also lead to Carpal Tunnel Syndrome as the body is altered from its non-pregnancy state. Arthritis, diabetes and hypothyroidism can create inflammation and swelling in the Carpal Tunnel.
Most Carpal Tunnel syndrome cases are direct result of lack of rest in between repetitive motions which tends to overwork these muscles leading to inflammation. Eventually the pressure placed on the median nerve causes nerve pain which can travel up the arm and into the shoulder. Symptoms may include pain, numbness and tingling in the wrist, hand and especially the thumb, index and middle finger. Other signs of a swollen flexor tendon include visible swelling in the wrist, heat, pain when moving the wrist flexing and extending the wrist or when moving the wrist from side to side.
Management of Traumatically Induced Carpal Tunnel
First, visit your primary care doctor or chiropractor if you have been in a car accident. If you have injured your wrist, it is important to have it examined and treated. As noted in the last paragraph, if you have a job that require repetitive motion then you need to make sure that you are not exacerbating your traumatic injury. Also, give us a call at 763-251-pain to see how we can help.