What Causes Carpal Tunnel Syndrome?

Written by Dr. Steve Chaney on . Posted in Muscle Therapy and Health, Pain Relief, What Causes Carpal Tunnel

The Symptoms of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome Are Caused By Tight Muscles

Author: Julie Donnelly, LMT –The Pain Relief Expert

Editor: Dr. Steve Chaney

what causes carpal tunnel syndromeWhat causes carpal tunnel?

In 1997 I was diagnosed with carpal tunnel syndrome: wrist pain, tingling and numb fingers. The pain and burning was horrible, it prevented me from even picking up a pencil or holding a glass. As a massage therapist it was devastating, my hands are my livelihood! I tried everything and finally had to close down my therapy practice because the pain was so severe. I knew I wasn’t going to go for surgery, but carpal tunnel syndrome was a hurdle that was pushing me out of work and I didn’t know where to turn.

Finally, I started to think of the logic of the body.  While everyone was looking at my wrist and forearm, the median nerve that causes the symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome doesn’t start in my arm, but where does it start?  Research showed that the nerve actually starts in your NECK!  Who would have thought this would be what causes carpal tunnel!

I found the solution to my problem, and I’ve been bringing it to people worldwide ever since.

How Muscles in Your Neck Can Be What Causes Carpal Tunnel Syndrome Symptoms

muscles cause carpal tunnel syndromeA bundle of nerves called the Brachial Plexus  (see three lines in neck of drawing) comes out of your cervical vertebrae and at the top of your shoulder the fibers divide into three nerves:

  1.  The Median Nerve – which goes to your thumb and first two fingers
  2. The Ulnar Nerve – which goes to your ring and pinky fingers
  3.  The Radial Nerve – which goes to your wrist

Your Scalenes muscle is in front of, and in back of the brachial plexus.

When the scalenes are in spasm, they put pressure on the bundle of nerves and it can cause tingling and numbness to be felt all the way to your fingers. The purple shading shows the referred pain pattern for the scalenes spasms.  This can be what causes carpal tunnel and in my case this was the primary cause of the carpal tunnel syndrome symptoms I had in my thumb and first two fingers.

By the way, your scalenes also cause that burning feeling you get between your shoulder blades.  You are rubbing your back, but the cause of the pain is actually in your neck!

How Muscles in Your Chest and Upper Arm Can Cause the Symptoms of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

coracoid processThe bundle of nerves goes along the front of your body and at the top of your shoulder it breaks into the three nerves (listed above) and they go under a bone called the coracoid process  (a part of your scapula/shoulder blade).

There are three muscles that attach to your coracoid process, (the biceps , pectoralis minor  , and the coracobrachialis ). When any of them are in spasm, they will pull the bone down onto the three nerves causing tingling and numbness to radiate down your arm and into your wrist &/or hand. This is one of the symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome, yet most medical practitioners don’t consider these muscles when searching for the cause of numbness in your fingers.

 

Treatment for Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

A Julstro Self-Treatment That Releases Tension in Your Shoulder and Off the Nerves to Your Hand

treatment for carpal tunnel syndromeYou can self-treat your upper arm muscles that are putting pressure on the coracoid AND also on your shoulder joint.

Simply make a fist and press into your biceps, using your opposite hand to help push your elbow so you can go deeper into your biceps.

Hold the pressure for 15-30 seconds and then continue the pressure while you S-L-O-W-L-Y open your arm.  Release the pressure, bend your arm, and repeat 2-3 times

End of Part 1 –

Next month I will show the muscles of your lower arm and hand and why they can be what causes carpal tunnel syndrome symptoms. Plus, you’ll get a self-treatment that is great for taking the pressure off your carpal tunnel.

Wishing you well,

Julie Donnelly

 

About The Author

Julie Donnelly is a Deep Muscle Massage Therapist with 20 years of experience specializing in the treatment of chronic joint pain and sports injuries. She has worked extensively with elite athletes and patients who have been unsuccessful at finding relief through the more conventional therapies.

She has been widely published, both on – and off – line, in magazines, newsletters, and newspapers around the country. She is also often chosen to speak at national conventions, medical schools, and health facilities nationwide.

These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This information is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.

Trackback from your site.

Comments (2)

  • Virginia Holley

    |

    Do I take my affected hand and press into my biceps of the opposite arm?

    Reply

    • Dr. Steve Chaney

      |

      No. It works the other way around. I’ll ask Julie Donnelly for additional comment.

      Reply

Leave a comment

Recent Videos From Dr. Steve Chaney

READ THE ARTICLE
READ THE ARTICLE

Latest Article

High Protein Diets and Weight Loss

Posted October 16, 2018 by Dr. Steve Chaney

Do High Protein Diets Reduce Fat And Preserve Muscle?

Author: Dr. Stephen Chaney

Healthy Diet food group, proteins, include meat (chicken or turkAre high protein diets your secret to healthy weight loss? There are lots of diets out there – high fat, low fat, Paleolithic, blood type, exotic juices, magic pills and potions. But recently, high protein diets are getting a lot of press. The word is that they preserve muscle mass and preferentially decrease fat mass.

If high protein diets actually did that, it would be huge because:

  • It’s the fat – not the pounds – that causes most of the health problems.
  • Muscle burns more calories than fat, so preserving muscle mass helps keep your metabolic rate high without dangerous herbs or stimulants – and keeping your metabolic rate high helps prevent both the plateau and yo-yo (weight regain) characteristic of so many diets.
  • When you lose fat and retain muscle you are reshaping your body – and that’s why most people are dieting to begin with.

So let’s look more carefully at the recent study that has been generating all the headlines (Pasiakos et al, The FASEB Journal, 27: 3837-3847, 2013).

The Study Design:

This was a randomized control study with 39 young (21), healthy and fit men and women who were only borderline overweight (BMI = 25). These volunteers were put on a 21 day weight loss program in which calories were reduced by 30% and exercise was increased by 10%. They were divided into 3 groups:

  • One group was assigned a diet containing the RDA for protein (about 14% of calories in this study design).
  • The second group’s diet contained 2X the RDA for protein (28% of calories)
  • The third group’s diet contained 3X the RDA for protein (42% of calories)

In the RDA protein group carbohydrate was 56% of calories, and fat was 30% of calories. In the other two groups the carbohydrate and fat content of the diets was decreased proportionally.

Feet_On_ScaleWhat Did The Study Show?

  • Weight loss (7 pounds in 21 days) was the same on all 3 diets.
  • The high protein (28% and 42%) diets caused almost 2X more fat loss (5 pounds versus 2.8 pounds) than the diet supplying the RDA amount of protein.
  • The high protein (28% and 42%) diets caused 2X less muscle loss (2.1 pounds versus 4.2 pounds) than the diet supplying the RDA amount of protein.
  • In case you didn’t notice, there was no difference in overall results between the 28% (2X the RDA) and 42% (3X the RDA) diets.

Pros And Cons Of The Study:

  • The con is fairly obvious. The participants in this study were all young, healthy and were not seriously overweight. If this were the only study of this type one might seriously question whether the results were applicable to middle aged, overweight coach potatoes. However, there have been several other studies with older, more overweight volunteers that have come to the same conclusion – namely that high protein diets preserve muscle mass and enhance fat loss.
  • The value of this study is that it defines for the first time the upper limit for how much protein is required to preserve muscle mass in a weight loss regimen. 28% of calories is sufficient, and there appear to be no benefit from increasing protein further. I would add the caveat that there are studies suggesting that protein requirements for preserving muscle mass may be greater in adults 50 and older.

The Bottom Line:

1)    Forget the high fat diets, low fat diets, pills and potions. High protein diets (~2X the RDA or 28% of calories) do appear to be the safest, most effective way to preserve muscle mass and enhance fat loss in a weight loss regimen.

2)     That’s not a lot of protein, by the way. The average American consumes almost 2X the RDA for protein on a daily basis. However, it is significantly more protein than the average American consumes when they are trying to lose weight. Salads and carrot sticks are great diet foods, but they don’t contain much protein.

3)     Higher protein intake does not appear to offer any additional benefit – at least in young adults.

4)     Not all high protein diets are created equal. What some people call high protein diets are laden with saturated fats or devoid of carbohydrate. The diet in this study, which is what I recommend, had 43% healthy carbohydrates and 30% healthy fats.

5)    These diets were designed to give 7 pounds of weight loss in 21 days – which is what the experts recommend. There are diets out there promising faster weight loss but they severely restrict calories and/or rely heavily on stimulants, they do not preserve muscle mass, and they often are not safe. In addition they are usually temporary.  I do not recommend them.

6)    This level of protein intake is safe for almost everyone. The major exception would be people with kidney disease, who should always check with their doctor before increasing protein intake. The only other caveat is that protein metabolism creates a lot of nitrogenous waste, so you should drink plenty of water to flush that waste out of your system. But, water is always a good idea.

7)     The high protein diets minimized, but did not completely prevent, muscle loss. Other studies suggest that adding the amino acid leucine to a high protein diet can give 100% retention of muscle mass in a weight loss regimen – but that’s another story for another day.

These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This information is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.

UA-43257393-1