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Sleepy hands and carpal tunnel syndrome

By Sandra Genest-Boudreau and Christophe O. Alves features@algarveresident.com

Sandra Genest-Boudreau is French-Canadian, who graduated from the Canadian Memorial Chiropractic College in 1990 before coming to the Algarve in 2002. She spent 10 years in a house practice in Québec city and two years in Vancouver. She is passionate about adjusting all her patients, particularly children.

Christophe Alves graduated from the Anglo-European College of Chiropractic (AECC) UK, and has a special interest in Sport Chiropractic.

Experiencing sleepy hands at night can be due to bad posture in bed where the circulation of the arm is being temporarily compromised. Simply changing positions resolves the problem.

However, there are cases where the numbness and tingling can become recurrent and progresses to sharp pain in the arms and hands. For such symptoms, a diagnosis of carpal tunnel syndrome is often made. However, it is important to determine if the symptoms are being caused by the pressure on the nerves at the wrist, or if there is a different cause of the problem.

It is very common for these types of symptoms to exist when there is a neck misalignment, history of auto injury, or other spinal conditions.

Carpal tunnel syndrome is a term often used to describe pain, numbness and tingling in the wrists or on the palm side of the hands.

The symptoms are especially felt at night and are often bad enough to wake up the sufferer after a few hours sleep. It can also happen in the day time especially while driving the car or lifting up the arms. The hand and fingers feel swollen and sharp shooting pains are sometimes felt in the forearms.

Some people develop weakness in the hands which makes it difficult to even open a jar or lift a plate.

This problem can affect a wide variety of people, from assembly workers, to fruit pickers, gardeners, housekeepers, hairdressers, musicians, secretaries, waitresses, and so on. It is also often seen in women at the last trimester of pregnancy.

The syndrome is the result of irritation to the median nerve. This nerve is formed by nerve roots in the neck area that travel down the arm into the hands through a small space in the wrist called the carpal tunnel.

You can have nerve compression only in the wrist, brought about by misaligned carpal bones but you can also experience referred pain from a compressed nerve in other areas.

Many are surprised to learn that the cause of their wrist problem may be due to functional changes to joints of the neck, shoulder, elbow or wrist. Virtually, every joint is susceptible to fixations or malfunctions. Vertebral misalignment in the cervical spine may compromise the workings of any structure between the neck and the tip of your fingers.

Chiropractors provide examination to all possible areas where the nerve can be compressed to determine whether your condition is a true carpal tunnel syndrome.

We will check the feeling, strength, and mobility of your neck, shoulders, arms, wrists and hands. After a thorough examination, your chiropractic doctor will perform specific adjustments, where needed, to help normalise structure and reduce nerve irritation.

Chiropractic adjustments that work so well with the spine can be applied to other joints of the body like the wrist or the elbow joints. When given time, conservative, chiropractic care has produced excellent results with carpal tunnel problems – without drugs or surgery.

In more serious cases, a surgical referral may be required. Whatever the cause, be assured that we will do our best to lead you in the most appropriate direction for the resolution of your health issue.

Dr Sandra and Dr Christophe can be contacted at algarvequiropratica@sapo.pt or telephone 282 312 853, 969 397 375 or 913 696 370. Alternatively, visit the Algarve Quiroprática clinic at Quinta das Fontainhas along the EN125 in Pêra.