Entrapment Neuropathy: More Than Just Carpal Tunnel!

Entrapment Neuropathy: More Than Just Carpal Tunnel!

An entrapment neuropathy occurs when a nerve is wedged or “pinched” against a bone, inflamed muscle, or other structure…

Most people have heard of carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS). What you might not know is that carpal tunnel syndrome is only one of a family of ailments in the upper limbs known as entrapment neuropathies. The other entrapment neuropathies are not as well-known in the mainstream as CTS, and so people who suffer from nerve symptoms in their forearms and hands frequently jump to conclusions. We are here to help set the record straight!

Diagnosis for compression neuropathies is usually straight forward…

An entrapment neuropathy, also called nerve compression syndrome, occurs when a nerve is wedged or “pinched” against a bone, inflamed muscle, or other internal mechanism in your arm. Aside from the median nerve (the one associated with CTS) there are two main nerves that help to control your arm and hand: the radial nerve and the ulnar nerve. Both are susceptible to compression, and the results can be painful!

Entrapment occurs under a number of conditions, most commonly:

  • When there is an injury originating at your neck or a disease of the cervical spine
  • When your elbow has been injured due to fractures or improper use
  • When your wrist has been injured due to fractures or Guyon canal alignment problems
  • Rarely, an aneurysm or thrombosis in your arteries
  • Factors commonly associated with peripheral neuropathy, such as diabetes, rheumatism, alcoholism, or infection

Your radial nerve runs the length of your arm, and is responsible for both movement and sensation. Radial neuropathy usually occurs at the back of the elbow, and can present itself with many of the common symptoms of neuropathy such as tingling, loss of sensation, weakness and reduced muscle control (in this case, often difficulty in turning your palm upwards with your elbow extended).

A number of palsies affect the radial nerve, such as:

  • “Saturday night palsy” where your radial nerve is compressed in your upper arm by falling asleep in a position where pressure is exerted on it by either furniture or a bed partner
  • “Crutch palsy”, where your nerve is pinched by poorly-fitted crutches
  • Tarsal Tunnel at the foot and Cubital Tunnel at the elbow.

Two main conditions affect the ulnar nerve: Guyon’s canal syndrome and cubital tunnel syndrome. Guyon’s canal syndrome is almost exactly the same in symptoms as carpal tunnel syndrome (pain and tingling in the palm and first three fingers), but involves a completely different nerve. Guyon’s canal syndrome is caused by pressure on your wrists, often by resting them at a desk or workstation, and is frequently experienced by cyclists due to pressure from the handlebars.

Nearly everyone has experienced cubital tunnel syndrome: it’s the “dead arm” sensation we’ve all felt when we wake up after sleeping on top of our arm! Sleeping with your arm folded up compresses the ulnar nerve at your shoulder, causing it to effectively “cut off” feeling to your arm. As you probably know from experience, this sensation is unsettling but temporary.

Diagnosis for all compression neuropathies is fairly straight forward. First, we will examine your arms for signs of neuropathy, and will likely ask you to perform several demonstrations of dexterity.  If  we suspect you may have an underlying condition, nerve (EMG/NCVs) or blood tests may be recommended. To pinpoint the specific location of a compression, we may also suggest MRI or x-ray.

Similar to carpal tunnel syndrome, most cases of compression neuropathy are mild. Treatment for these mild cases and commonly ice, rest, and a change in habits of motion or stress that are causing the symptoms. For more severe cases, possibly anti-inflammatories, and in extreme cases, a surgical solution is sometimes justified.

If you suffer from a compression neuropathy or have questions about this or any other kind of neuropathy, let us help! Contact us by calling the number at the top of the page and we can answer your questions.

Don’t wait! The sooner and accurate diagnosis is made, the more options for treatment you will have.

Do you or someone you know suffer from CTS? Join the conversation HERE!

 

References:

http://www.mdguidelines.com/neuropathy-of-radial-nerve-entrapment
http://emedicine.medscape.com/article/1285531-overview
http://emedicine.medscape.com/article/1244885-overview
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2599973/?tool=pmcentrez

 

Risks vs Benefits

Risks vs Benefits

Neuropathy & Pain Treatment Risks vs Benefits

Here is a proven fact. All of healthcare in fact you could argue most of life our “decisions” are made pitting risks versus benefits.  As adults we ask ourselves and teach our children, do our actions today set us up for a healthier and better future or not?

What if we take no action at all? Is that better than doing something?

All of these are decisions that you need to make along with your healthcare providers on a regular basis. You see everything we do is risks versus benefits. This is so important to understand.  Make no mistake about modern science and medicine have developed amazing treatments.This also includes what we do here. We are continually working on treatments to help neuropathy and chronic pain patients.

Do YOU Always ASK your clinicians Is the cure is worse than the problem?

So, what if instead, we as both doctors and patients took a very strong look at the underlying causes of so much of illness and treated those first?

You know, all those things just get us into trouble. Poor dietary habits especially over the long haul, inactivity, cigarette smoking, not paying attention to stress and emotional health. I’m sure you get the picture.

What if we did all of those things before we prescribed for patients neuropathy and chronic pain treatment drugs, or surgical procedures that could cause significant harm.

For example, if doctors and patients paid more careful attention and worked together just like we do in NeuropathyDR Treatment Centers on weight loss and lifestyle, far less patients would be placed on statin medication.

Statin medications as you probably know are one major cause of neuropathy..

What if instead of injecting patients, and suggesting invasive procedures early on what if we both make sure as doctors and patients that all conservative treatment options were exhausted first?

You already know the answer…

You understand, as your NeuropathyDR clinician does, that’s all good neuropathy and chronic pain treatment is risks vs benefits!

So why not learn more today? Why not take actions that will help you live much more fully, without devastating side effects.

Make all your decisions about your neuropathy and chronic pain treatment very carefully!

For more information on coping with neuropathy, get your Free E-Book and subscription to the Weekly Ezine “Beating Neuropathy” at http://neuropathydr.co

Chronic Pain Answers?

Chronic Pain Answers?

 How To Prevent Acute Pain from Becoming Chronic Pain

Right now, this is a staggering statistic: one fourth of the population in United States suffers from some form of chronic pain. Unlike acute or short-term pain, chronic pain is difficult to treat requiring much more effort, resources, and is more expense than acute pain.

Even more amazing is that of these hundred million plus people a substantial number of people suffer from pain related to neuropathy, shingles, and other nerve related painful disorders or neuralgias. All of these belong to the family of chronic conditions called neuropathic pain.

But why is this? There are no simple answers. Bad things do happen to good people every day.

But two largely preventable causes of neuropathy and related conditions do stand out.

The first is that as a society, we pay less attention to our health on the whole than ever before. This of course is a lifestyle issue that we address here every single day.

The other issue, which is better known, is the failure of both patients and their professionals to manage acute pain correctly.

You see, pain that accompanies largely correctable causes that does not go away in a reasonable period of time can turn into the menace called chronic pain.

But there are some simple things that you can do that will prevent acute pains from becoming chronic.

The most important thing is to learn to treat new symptoms seriously. A good rule of thumb is to never ignore anything that persists more than two days or keeps you awake at night.

This will only serve to heighten the possible risk of developing a chronic or much more serious underlying condition. These can also be the signs that infection, inflammation, or other serious process is at work.

One other very important point that could prevent many acute pain cases from turning chronic,

Be sure that any injuries, accidents and any acute illness is treated appropriately.This often means early and active intervention on both the part of yourself and your healthcare professionals.

As inconvenient and time-consuming as this may sometimes be to treat acute health problems, it’s imperative that we in healthcare get the message out.

Initiating good early treatment, diagnostics and appropriate home care programs could save many from chronic pain and all the disability and life disruption that it brings with it.

For more information on coping with neuropathy, get your Free E-Book and subscription to the Weekly Ezine “Beating Neuropathy” at http://neuropathydr.co

Why Carb Control Can Help Neuropathy, Fibromyalgia, and Many Forms of Chronic Pain

Carrying excess body fat can elevate blood sugars and triglycerides over time. Even mildly elevated blood sugars can cause some of these sugars to attach to protein molecules, causing chronic pain.

As a regular reader of these posts, you understand—in part, at least—the importance of controlling carbohydrates in our diets.

There are two forms of carbohydrates. Simple carbohydrates include things like refined sugar, which is commonly contained in cookies, cakes, sodas, ice cream, etc. You probably also know that these items are forbidden on the NeuropathyDR Diet Plan!

There are also complex carbohydrates. Complex carbohydrates are manly starches like those found in fruits, vegetables, and grains.

The most dangerous part of high carbohydrate consumption is that it simply causes us to gain weight unnecessarily. The mechanism by which this happens is relatively complex.

In a nutshell, high carbohydrate consumption causes our bodies to produce excess insulin. Production of extra insulin actually causes a number of things to occur, but the most important is lowering of blood sugar by driving excess calories into fat cells.

This is how excess carbohydrates in our diet causes us to gain weight, seemingly very rapidly.

Another factor which many patients are unaware of is carrying excess body fat can elevate blood sugars and triglycerides over time. Even mildly elevated blood sugars can cause some of these sugars to attach to protein molecules. This is responsible for making us feel very stiff and sore.

This also makes it more difficult for our bodies to regulate insulin levels.

Of course, this response is dramatically altered in patients who are diabetic, creating all types of dangerous health effects, including eye disease, kidney disease, and of course peripheral neuropathy and other forms of chronic pain.

The good news is, pre-diabetes and borderline diabetes can often be controlled—and sometimes reversed—by improving the quality of diet.

The sooner we spring into action, the better our chances of impacting our current and future health.

There are, however, two circumstances in which higher carbohydrate consumption maybe needed.

Number one, is if you take insulin. If you take insulin, you need to know that changing your diet, and certain dietary supplementation, especially with thiamine or vitamin B1, can influence your blood sugar and insulin requirements. That’s why need to work very carefully with prescribing healthcare professionals.

Also, if you are an athlete in training, you will need to consume more carbohydrates than average. To avoid excess weight gain, avoid overeating, and emphasize the complex carbohydrates, such as those contained in fruit and vegetables, as opposed to simple sugars.

Also try to confine higher carbohydrate consumption to within one hour before, and perhaps after, strenuous physical activity.

 

For more information on coping with neuropathy, get your Free E-Book and subscription to the Weekly Ezine “Beating Neuropathy” at http://neuropathydr.co

The Best Pain Control

The Best Pain Control

For the best pain control, first your clinician must make an accurate assessment of the type of pain and likely causes.

Anybody who suffers from neuropathy and it’s related forms of chronic pain such as shingles, pinched nerves in the spine, or even spinal stenosis understands what a challenge finding the best pain control can be.

But what too many physicians and patients very often fail to understand is that early and active intervention to make a dramatic difference in patient outcome.

Let’s take for example back pain. It is been known for years that under-treated acute back pain can lead to prolonged episodes of pain and disability.

Neuropathy is often times the same because of early on the symptoms are minimized or blown off by both patients and doctors alike.

One thing that even too many physicians fail to understand is that different body parts generate different pain signals and this requires often times multiple and even separate forms of treatment.

For example the pain that is produced when a nerve is damaged is distinctly different from the pain from Norcott scraper, even a surgical scar.

Because these are two different problems, they often times need to be treated differently.

One of the key things to understand about neuropathic pain is that it does often respond well to various forms of electric nerve stimulation. This is why so many find relief with our NDGen at home and in the clinic.

By contrast, pain due to bruises, scars, and cuts etc. Do not always respond to direct neurostim (nerve stimulation) and other treatment modalities, such as ultrasound and laser maybe much more effective.

So this is why it’s very important that your clinician make an accurate assessment as to the type of pain you may have and what the likely causes actually are for best pain control.

As we said before the longer a pain pattern sets in the more difficult it becomes to treat.

This is why we strongly recommend active and early intervention especially in painful disorders like neuropathy, shingles and even acute back pain.

The longer you wait or put off the appropriate treatment the more difficult it will become to manage and find the best pain control.

In reality, far more difficult than it needs to be.

For more information on coping with neuropathy, get your Free E-Book and subscription to the Weekly Ezine “Beating Neuropathy” at http://neuropathydr.co