This Carpal Tunnel and Thyroid Conditions page was written by Kerri from www.Easy-Immune-Health.com
She deals with thyroid conditions and thought this would be good information for people on this site suffering from Carpal Tunnel symptoms. I agree, so here it is.
For the most part, doctors believe that Carpal Tunnel Syndrome is -only- caused by and related to an 'impingement' of the median nerve that runs down the wrist.
According to doctors, strain and repetitive motion cause inflammation of the connective tissue that surrounds this nerve running through your wrist into your hand; surgery is often indicated as a treatment to 'release' the impingement on this nerve.
But Carpal Tunnel Syndrome is nothing but label for a collection of symptoms and is not a disease in and of itself.
As with all 'Syndromes', there can be many different causes of symptoms. 'Nerve impingement' is only ONE of the possible causes of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome, making Conservative Non Surgical Treatment for Carpal Tunnel a smart thing to do before attempting surgery.
As unlikely as it sounds, one of the causes of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome Symptoms are Thyroid Gland Problems.
This may sound a bit crazy, but an under active thyroid gland, termed hypothyroid, can be one of the causes of 'Carpal Tunnel Syndrome'.
This was actually discovered by accident when patients with hypothyroidism suddenly found their carpal tunnel syndrome symptoms disappearing.
While it SOUNDS easy to have a doctor simply check a person's thyroid levels before they consider surgery for carpal tunnel syndrome, it's not always that simple.
Unfortunately, hypothyroid isn't necessarily easy to diagnose.
Even though the blood tests are readily available, doctors generally only look at ONE of the many different thyroid tests that are available.
If the Thyroid Stimulating Hormone (TSH) is normal, then the doctor will determine that hypothyroidism is not present and will not check the many other thyroid hormones and antibodies that can be tested.
But in the case of some study participants who had carpal tunnel syndrome, the majority who benefited from hypothyroid treatment actually had completely normal TSH levels. But these lucky carpal tunnel sufferers had ALL their levels analyzed and were diagnosed with 'Subclinical Hypothyroid', qualified for the more conservative medical treatment that eliminated their 'Carpal Tunnel Syndrome' and avoided unnecessary surgery.
Not only is Underactive thyroid one of the causes of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome, but Overactive thyroid can cause these Same symptoms.
And just like with hypothyroid, treatment for hyperthyroid also prevented what would have been surgical cases.
In the article 'Carpal tunnel syndrome and hyperthyroidism. A prospective study' the authors state, "CTS can be considered another peripheral neurological manifestation associated with hyperthyroidism."
Yet instead of routinely screening patients for subtle health problems before surgery, doctors rarely check for these problems.
In fact, one study that reviewed all of the literature available on metabolic causes of carpal tunnel syndrome concluded that "there is insufficient evidence for routine laboratory screening" in patients with carpal tunnel syndrome.
Certainly, for those who end up having an unnecessary and unsuccessful surgery, there is not 'insufficient evidence'.
But until routine screenings with the simple and readily available blood tests are being done, it will be impossible to know how many people receive unnecessary carpal tunnel surgery every year.
Given that there is always a percentage of people who don't improve with carpal tunnel surgery, it's evident that some of these surgical 'Non Responders' might have had something else as the causes of their carpal tunnel syndrome.
If you are EVER considering surgery for Carpal Tunnel Syndrome, INSIST upon your doctor checking ALL of your thyroid hormones: TSH, Free T3, Free T4, Thyroxine and your Thyroid autoantibodies.
Your doctor will likely not agree to this and state that it is "Not Indicated", but when you are contemplating surgery, ruling out all possible causes of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome is VERY MUCH indicated if you are the one going under the knife!!
Kerri Knox, RN- The Immune Health Queen
Functional Medicine Practitioner Easy Immune Health.com
If your Carpal Tunnel Syndrome is from a purely soft tissue dynamic, it's really pretty easy to deal with and eliminate.
But it can get tricky when the symptoms are from system issues like nutritional deficiencies and thyroid conditions.
Carpal Tunnel and Thyroid Conditions change the game. If you don't effectively deal with the thyroid, you CAN'T effectively deal with the Carpal Tunnel. That's one reason why surgeries on the wrist fail to make the pain go away...because the pain really isn't from the wrist.
Just like Tendonitis can send pain to other places, the thyroid can -cause- pain in other places, like the wrist and hand.
Why? Nobody really knows. I sure don't. I don't think that science knows either.
As Kerri said, if you are facing surgery for Carpal Tunnel, you just might want to follow her suggestions and get yourself checked for any thyroid conditions.