Treatment Options for Carpal Tunnel

Carpal tunnel is one of the most falsely diagnosis terms labeled on the patient. 85 percent of patients who think they have “carpal tunnel”– in reality– do not have carpal tunnel syndrome.

It is common misconception that any “wrist pain” equals “carpal tunnel”. Out of 100 patients that were interviewed, 93 of them were under the impression that wrist pain was synonymous with carpal tunnel. Unfortunately– a more disturbing number was that 65 of these above patients were given the diagnosis of carpal tunnel from their massage therapist, physical therapist, chiropractor, nurse, or primary care physician.

It is important to be evaluated by a physician who is more trained in the musculoskeletal system and understands and can evaluate your wrist pain and appropriately diagnose it. Osteopathic physicians are very well trained and specialized in recognizing that underlying conditions behind your wrist pain. Therefore, based on their accurate history taking and appropriate examination, they can more effectively diagnose and therefore treat your wrist pain or upper extremity pain.

What is carpal tunnel and is it painful?

As opposed to common belief and misconception, wrist pain is not one of the common symptoms for carpal tunnel syndrome. Carpal tunnel syndrome is an inflammatory or an anatomical dysfunction that puts pressure on the nerve that provides sensation to three of our fingers. Therefore, any pressure within the carpal tunnel will induce numbness of three of your fingers.

Any wrist symptoms that do not fit the above description is not considered to be “carpal tunnel”. Therefore, an osteopathic physician will be able to fully evaluate all other causes of your wrist pain to be able to help you alleviate the pain.

If it’s not carpal tunnel, what else can it be?

Any pain that involves your wrist can stem from either of the following:

  • Disk problems in the neck vertebrae
  • Nerve problems from the neck
  • neck sprains or fractures
  • shoulder sprains or fractures
  • elbow sprains or fractures
  • wrist sprains or fractures
  • finger sprains or fractures
  • arterial or circulation problems
  • myofascial tension
  • muscle tension or stiffness

How can I diagnose myself using the Internet?

First and foremost, you must be cautious on who is publishing the article that you are reading on the Internet. Secondly, no amount of research nor symptoms evaluation on the website can replace the physical interaction and the physical examination which is performed by a physician with practical experience in the field of musculoskeletal care (such as an orthopedic surgeon or an osteopathic physician).

Although x-rays and or MRIs will also be helpful in this diagnosis, 90% of patients can be appropriately diagnose with the physician’s physical examination.

Treating Carpal Tunnel in Santa Monica and Los Angeles

What are the possible treatment methods?

As with everything else with patient care and treatment, personalization of care is of utmost importance. As no two people are alike, no two treatments should be alike.

Therefore, based on your evaluation, examination, and diagnosis. Your treatment may include one or multiple of the following modalities:

  • Wrist brace
  • Trigger Point Injections
  • Prolotherapy
  • Platelet Rich Plasma Therapy
  • Myofascial Release Therapy
  • Osteopathic Manual Therapy
  • Manual Adjustment
  • Last Resort Surgery (on rare occasions)
  • Nonpharmaceutical Anti-Inflammatory Injections
  • Pharmaceutical Anti-Inflammatory Injections