Carpal Tunnel Syndrome and the Median Nerve

There are two rows of carpal bones in the wrist that form the carpal tunnel. Carpal Tunnel syndrome is so named because the median nerve, the nerve responsible for the pain of carpal tunnel syndrome, passes through the tunnel on its way to innervating the hand. There are two main nerves that service the arm— the median and the ulnar. Both flow out from the neck and make their way down through the upper extremity.

Diagnosing carpal tunnel isn’t all that difficult. The ulnar nerve handles the outside of the hand while the median nerve takes care of the inside. When people report pain in the thumb and index fingers you can bet it is the median and not the ulnar nerve that is compromised.

Carpal tunnel syndrome is a classic repetitive stress injury. It usually happens from holding certain postures, very often at work, over long, sometimes extremely long, periods of time. And while it is often sourced and treated at the wrist the issue is more often with the alignment of the head, neck, and shoulders. How the nerves feed out of the neck and the space available for the brachial plexus is a great determinant of how the energy of the median nerve eventually gets to your hand.

A plexus is a gathering place for nerves. A host of nerves gather together at different points in the body and emerge from that gathering as different nerves continuing on a new journey. Nerves that emanate from the cervical spine meet to form the brachial plexus above the collar bone from which five nerves emerge, one of them being the median nerve that passes through the armpit on its way to the carpal tunnel and the hand.

Postural alignment determines the space that your nerves have to flow out of the spine and the room that they have to move determines how effectively they can energize the body.

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