Carpal Tunnel Syndrome Chiropractic Treatment
There you are… sitting at your desk, and suddenly, a sharp, piercing pain shoots through the wrist and up your arm. Is it just a passing cramp? Most likely you have carpal tunnel syndrome, a painful progressive condition caused by compression of a key nerve in the wrist.
Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
Carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS) is an entrapment median neuropathy, causing paresthesia, pain, numbness, and other symptoms in the distribution of the median nerve due to its compression at the wrist in the carpal tunnel. Carpal tunnel syndrome is possibly the most common nerve disorder experienced today.
The condition occurs most often in people 30 to 60 years old, and is more common in women than men, perhaps because the carpal tunnel itself may be smaller in women than in men. The dominant hand is usually affected first and produces the most severe pain.
Carpal Tunnel Syndrome is a painful condition that occurs when the median nerve, which runs from the forearm into the hand, becomes pressed or squeezed at the wrist. The Carpal Tunnel – a narrow, rigid passageway of ligament and bones at the base of the hand houses the median nerve and tendons. Sometimes, thickening from irritated tendons or other swelling narrows the tunnel and causes the median nerve to be compressed.
The Carpal Tunnel pain that many experience in their hand and wrist can actually be a combination of nerve problems in the wrist, elbow and spinal nerves in the lower neck and shoulder.
Carpal tunnel syndrome is a common work related injury in people who perform repetitive motions of the hand and wrist, particularly if they work in cold temperatures and have factors or medical conditions that make them susceptible. These repetitive motions often result in a cumulative type trauma, also known as a Gillette injury and is fully compensable as a work comp injury. The onset of this type of injury is often gradual.
Presently, the costs to businesses that employ workers at high risk to develop Carpal Tunnel Syndrome and other Repetitive Stress Injuries is staggering. It is estimated that RSI “costs employers over $80 billion yearly.” According to the National Council of Compensation Insurance, the average compensation of a CTS victim is $33,000.00.
The most common cause of carpal tunnel causes includes:
- Assembly line work
- Use of tools (especially hand tools or tools that vibrate). Industrial jobs that require repetitive, forceful work such as operating a jackhammer
- Sports such as racquetball or handball
- Playing some musical instruments. Musicians are at very high risk for CTS and other problems related to the muscles and nerves in the hands, upper trunk, and neck.
- Working with hands a lot, operating machinery, computer joysticks, factory workers in assembly jobs, manual laborers
Double Crush Syndrome
When there is compression of the median nerve in the wrist as well as compression of the 6th or 7th cervical nerve in the neck, the overlapping symptoms are called “double crush syndrome,” and require attention to both the wrist and the neck. Double crush syndrome can and does respond to chiropractic treatments.
A brace is often prescribed to help protect the wrist and reduce mobility. While it may alleviate certain symptoms, it virtually ignores the malfunctioning joints causing the problem. The chiropractic approach is to help restore proper motion to affected joints and strengthen supporting muscles and soft tissues. While this may require some type of ongoing supportive care, many patients are able to resume their activities without bracing.
Early diagnosis and treatment are important to avoid permanent damage to the median nerve. If Carpal Tunnel is left untreated, it can lead to decreased grip strength, deterioration of the muscles at the base of the thumb, and sometimes the sense to differentiate between hot and cold is lost in the hands and fingers.
Carpal Tunnel Syndrome Treatments should be as conservative and as noninvasive as possible. For many people suffering from carpal tunnel, pain relief has been achieved without the use of drugs or surgery. Surgery has mixed outcomes and should be viewed only as a last resort after all conservative methods have failed.
To rule out other painful conditions that mimic carpal tunnel syndrome, a through physical examination of the hands, arms, shoulders, and neck can help determine if the patient’s complaints are related to daily activities or to an underlying disorder. The wrist is examined for tenderness, swelling, warmth, and discoloration. Each finger should be tested for sensation, and the muscles at the base of the hand should be examined for strength and signs of atrophy. Routine laboratory tests and X-rays can reveal diabetes, arthritis, and fractures.
The good news is that Carpal Tunnel Syndrome is completely treatable without the use of drugs or surgery! Surgery has mixed outcomes and should be viewed only as a last resort after all conservative methods have failed.
Chiropractic treatment has helped many patients suffering from Carpal Tunnel Syndrome with great success. If you suffer from Carpal Tunnel Syndrome or a similar condition, it just makes sense to take the more conservative approach first: chiropractic first, drugs second and surgery last!
Carpal Tunnel Test
You can test yourself to see if you have Carpal Tunnel Syndrome with these tests:
The most helpful test for Carpal Tunnel Syndrome is Phalen’s Maneuver.
Place the backs of your hands firmly against one another with your fingers pointing down and hold this position for one minute. If within a minute, you experience numbness, tingling, pain or a combination, you likely have a compressed nerve.
Another test is Tinel’s sign.
Use your finger to repeatedly tap the center of your wrist crease, where the carpal tunnel and the median nerve are. If the tapping causes numbness, tingling or pain, then you may have carpal tunnel syndrome. Chiropractic care may be a good solution for your problem.
Please don’t hesitate to contact our office! Schedule a no-obligation consultation and find out what safe and natural chiropractic may do for you.