“Doctor, doctor, I keep having these dreams where I’m a fish… and I’m swimming toward the light,” said the patient. The doctor carefully considered the situation. “Don’t you worry,” he said, “You just have carp-in-tunnel syndrome.”
The tragedy in that bad joke was that I actually wrote it… back in 1992.
Carpal Tunnel Syndrome was all the rage; everybody who was anybody was getting it. By 1995, there were surgeries and specialists. By Y2K, we had special split keyboards and funny looking computer pointers.
Today, I have a mouse, a straight keyboard and a wrist pad. I hardly hear a peep about Carpal Tunnel.
Carpal tunnel syndrome didn’t go away, it was just misunderstood from the start.
The carpals are eight little bones around your palm and wrist. The tunnel is created by two of these bones and a bridge like sheath that spans the base of your thumb to the opposite base of your palm by your pinkie. The bridge-like sheath is called a retinaculum.Several ligaments pass through this tunnel, as does the median nerve. The ligaments attach to the muscles that flex your fingers.
Carpal Tunnel Syndrome is the compression of the median nerve and causes pain, numbness and paresthesia (aka ‘my hand fell asleep’). Most of the causes of CTS are unknown, but when scientists and doctors apply a reason, it’s generally something like obesity, hypothyroidism, arthritis, diabetes, or maybe trauma…
What we used to call Carpal Tunnel Syndrome was most likely bursitis, tendonitis or some other –itis that business, people, ergonomics, keyboards, stretching and massage have helped alleviate. It’s amazing what can happen when you step away from the keyboard for a while, or take a few minutes to stretch.
If you still have problems, let your massage therapist know! It’s really easy for us to massage the tips of your finger to the edge of the shoulder, and hit all the achy places in between to help you out.