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Natural Health News

Is it carpal tunnel syndrome?

Nerve pain in a hand is a relatively common symptom that will provoke people to seek medical advice. Carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS) is usually the first thought a health care practitioner will have, especially if the pain is in the palm of the hand. There are a few basic physical exam tests that can be conducted to solidify the CTS diagnosis. In many cases, this is a straight forward and easy process. Unfortunately, making this diagnosis too quickly may leave other causes unknown. When these other causes are not identified or treated it is likely that the CTS symptoms will not fully resolve.
The median nerve is the nerve that gets pinched and causes carpal tunnel syndrome. In most CTS cases the median nerve is being pinched or restricted in the carpal tunnel. The median nerve originates in the neck, along with all of the other major nerves that run to the hand. The carpal tunnel is a canal between some of the wrist bones. The carpal tunnel acts as a channel for several tendons and nerves to make it through from the forearm to the hand.
Not every case of carpal tunnel syndrome is caused by restriction in the carpal tunnel. Some people experience CTS-like symptoms due to restrictions in the median nerve somewhere else along the nerve’s path. The restriction could be anywhere from the neck to the palm of the hand. Sometimes people will have more than one area along the median nerve’s path that gets restricted. There could be a restriction in the neck, shoulder, elbow, or forearm where the nerve winds through more difficult territory.
There are a few signs to look for that suggests a person may have more than just carpal tunnel syndrome. I always become suspicious if the symptoms started after an injury to the neck, shoulder, elbow, or forearm. I look more deeply if the symptoms worsen when the patient’s posture, diet, or activity affects the symptoms. It’s also more likely to be more than just CTS when a person has been treated for CTS and still has significant symptoms.
Nerves are like long electrical cords your electrician weaves through your house to connect the electricity to the junction. An injury in the neck, shoulder, or elbow may cause a local pinch, which may cause nerve pain at the site. However, many of these restrictions don’t actually pinch the nerve and cause pain at that site. Instead, they restrict the nerve’s path and cause a problem further down the pathway. It’s kind of like something is yanking on the nerve in the neck and that force causes the nerve to ride out of position in the carpal tunnel.
If you have been diagnosed and treated for carpal tunnel syndrome but still suffer from symptoms, it is quite possible that you have more than just carpal tunnel syndrome. A thorough physical exam should examine the entire pathway of the median nerve, assess other nerve pathways, and assess the integrity of the neck, shoulder, and elbow joints.
If you would like more information about Dr. Barlow please contact him at his office at 250-448-5610 or email him at [email protected]


Keeping New Year's Resolutions

It is one thing to make New Year’s resolutions, another thing to start working on them, and yet another thing altogether to successfully achieve your New Year’s resolutions. In this article we will focus on the top 5 tips to successfully follow through with and achieve your New Year’s resolutions.
1.  Write and Re-write Your Goals on Paper
Having your goals on paper is one of the most important strategies for successfully following through. It is easy to forget things that are not written down, especially when you are busy. Don’t be afraid to re-write or alter your goals as time goes on. Your resolutions may evolve as the year goes on and re-writing them when you see fit can be integral in their achievement.
2.  Look at Your Resolutions Daily
It is important to take time each day to think about what you want to achieve. One of the best ways to achieve your goals is to review them daily. When your goals are out of site they are often also out of mind. Place a copy of your goals on your fridge, bathroom mirror, or computer so you can see them daily.
3.  Take Care of Your Overall Health
It can be easy to become overly focused on your resolutions and forget about other important aspects of your life. Be sure to incorporate your goals within your life and not as a separate entity that pushes other important things away. The healthier you are overall the better you will be at pursuing and achieving your New Year’s resolutions.
4.  Be Patient
Many New Year’s resolutions can not be achieved in a day or a week. In fact, most take long periods of time to be successfully completed. Practice patience along your journey. Don’t be too hard on yourself if things are taking longer than you expected or if there are some setbacks. Most goals take more time to achieve that originally planned and involve some adversity.
5.  Celebrate the Milestones
It is often easy to forget how well we are actually doing. When we take time to celebrate milestones or achievements along the way we can gain momentum. Don’t wait until the final completion of the goal to celebrate. Be sure to remind yourself regularly how well you are really doing.

Setting New Year's Resolutions

This is the time of year when many people begin thinking about their resolutions for the New Year. You may have a good idea of what your resolutions will be but for many people it may be a very difficult decision. In this article we will focus on the top 5 tips for making successful New Years resolutions.


1.  Be True to Yourself

The most important part of setting successful New Year’s resolutions is that they be true to your authentic self. The authentic self is the part of you that never really changes. It is the part of you that is inherently you, your constitution. Capitalize on your strengths by tapping into your authentic self and use this to create the best resolutions for yourself.

2.  Don’t Try to Please Others with Your Goals

Your New Year’s resolutions should be designed to fulfil your inner desires not appease the needs or wants of other people. Trying to please other people almost always ultimately fails especially if you have no true desire to achieve the goal. It is okay to set goals with other people in mind but be sure that you are ultimately doing it for yourself.

3.  Set Realistic and Attainable Resolutions

It is extremely important to set New Year’s resolutions that are realistic and attainable for you. It only does harm to set goals that you realistically won’t be able to achieve. Take time to think about how you can make your New Year’s resolutions realistic and attainable.

4.  Take Baby Steps

Many resolutions may require baby steps to be achieved. Often there is no need to rush to a result. In fact, many goals need time to be achieved and are best when divided into smaller segments. Try setting your goals with increments in mind and allow yourself the time needed to take baby steps towards them.

5.  Find Support

Most New Year’s resolutions become easier and more fun to achieve when you have people in your life supporting you. This could be family, friends, co-workers, a personal trainer, a naturopathic physician, or anyone else. There are often bumps on the road and it can be extremely helpful to have others in your life you can confide in and help propel you towards your goals.


In next week’s column we will investigate the top 5 tips for keeping your New Year’s resolutions.


Healthy Christmas: Top 5 tips

The Christmas and winter holiday season can be one of the most enjoyable times of the year. For many people the month of December is spent visiting family, friends and attending various celebrations. Great meals, beverages, and treats are plentiful while sleep, rest, and relaxation is often lacking. This can make the holiday season a very challenging time of year on the body. In this article we will focus on the top 5 tips to make your holiday season as healthy as possible.
1.  Moderation
In order to live a balanced and happy life it is important to practice moderation. Practicing moderation helps promote a reliable body. A reliable body is one that can handle some extra food, drinks, and treats from time to time because it has been provided good nutrition, exercise, and rest 80-90% of the time. With a reliable body it is okay to allow yourself to push the boundaries 10-20% of the time. Be sure to pick and choose the right times to enjoy a large meal or a few drinks or some extra treats. Don’t let the indulgences take over the reliable body you are building.
2.  Eating Preventatively
Eating preventatively involves consuming snacks or small meals every 3-4 hours. This helps prevent blood sugar crashes, which often leads to headaches, fatigue, and malaise. Eating preventatively can be a very successful strategy to prevent overeating at one sitting. Don’t starve yourself all day so you can pig out at dinner. Enjoy the holiday dinners but make sure you are eating nutritious food through the day as well to keep you healthy.
3.  Water/Hydration
This is the season to enjoy many tasty beverages but don’t forget to hydrate your body with clean water and non-caffeinated teas. Most people need somewhere between 1.5 and 3 litres of water each day to stay optimally hydrated. However, each cup of coffee or serving of alcohol dehydrates the body. Therefore, it is recommended to drink an additional glass of water for each coffee or alcoholic beverage you consume.
4.  Planning
When we fail to plan we often plan to fail. Take some time to plan your activities during the holidays. Try to spread your activities relatively evenly to prevent rushing around, excess stress and burnout. Planning is a key part of preventing problems that come as a result of a lack of preparedness.
5.  Know Your Limits
Setting realistic boundaries with your time, energy, and commitments can be very important for staying healthy during this time of year. Setting boundaries with your food, treats, and alcohol can also be very important. Burning the candle at both ends is one of the most common reasons people catch colds and other infections during this time of year. Set boundaries to keep you healthy.
In next week’s article we will look at the top 5 tips for making your New Years Resolutions as successful as possible.

Read more Natural Health News articles


About the Author

Dr. Brent Barlow is a Naturopathic Physician practicing at The Kelowna Wellness Clinic in downtown Kelowna. Dr. Barlow has been in practice in Kelowna since graduating from the Boucher Institute of Naturopathic Medicine in Vancouver in 2009.

Naturopathic Doctors are trained as primary care physicians, and primarily use natural medicine to treat disease and promote wellness. Dr. Barlow believes strongly in identifying and treating the causes of disease rather than focusing on the treatment of symptoms.

Naturopathic medicine utilizes diet therapy, botanical medicine, nutritional supplementation, acupuncture, spinal manipulation and other physical medicine treatments to treat the causes of disease. Dr. Barlow also trained in the specialized treatments of prolotherapy, neural therapy, intravenous nutrient infusions, and chelation therapy.

Dr. Barlow is in general practice and welcomes all individuals and families. As a naturopathic physician he is trained to treat all health conditions in the manner that best suits the goals of each individual patient. He also has special interests in natural treatments for pain management and digestive health.

To learn more about Dr. Barlow's treatments or to schedule a consultation, visit his website at or call 250-448-5610.


The views expressed are strictly those of the author and not necessarily those of Castanet. Castanet presents its columns "as is" and does not warrant the contents.

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