Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
Carpal Tunnel Syndrome (CTS) is a painful affliction caused by repetitive work-related hand motions. Affecting up to 10 million Americans each year, CTS is twice as likely to affect women, resulting in missed work and reduction in income. Non-surgical treatment is available when symptoms are identified early.
The carpal tunnel is a very tiny opening in the wrist made up of fibrous tendon and bone. Frequent hand movements, required in tasks such as typing or data entry duties, can result in inflammation of this already small passageway. The median nerve, the major sensory bundle leading to the hand, travels through this area sending signals back to the brain. When restricted, tingling, numbness and pain results in the wrist, palm and fingers.
High risk professions include:
- Clerical Workers
- Assembly Line Employees
- Grocery Clerks
- Bank Tellers
Symptoms Of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
During the initial stages, CTS symptoms are often ignored. Many sufferers accept this discomfort as the normal result of prolonged activity. Although the pain may subside, it will still be noticeable, even during periods of rest. Returning to daily duties slowly increases the soreness.
Common Early Warning Signs of CTS
- Burning sensation in the hand.
- Tingling, pins & needles sensation of the wrist and fingers.
- Weak hand strength.
Left unaddressed, the condition will evolve as symptoms intensify.
Advanced Symptoms of CTS
The median nerve is connected to the thumb and all fingers, with the exception of pinky. If any of the above warning symptoms are present in the small finger, Carpal Tunnel Syndrome can usually be ruled out as the cause. Chiropractic testing is available to provide an exact diagnosis.
Chiropractic Testing For Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
Arthritis, fibromyalgia or RSI (Repetitive Strain Injury) are common conditions that mimic the symptoms of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome. In order for your physician to accurately diagnose your condition, specific testing must be administered.
Carpal Compression Test
Slight pressure will be placed directly on your carpal tunnel and median nerve; any pain or discomfort will be noted. Additional testing involves the physician pressing your thumb directly into the palm of the affected hand, gauging your response.
X-ray testing can reveal other causes of wrist and hand pain such as fractures or arthritis.
Chiropractic Treatment For Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
The best treatment for CTS requires proper identification regarding the cause of carpal tunnel inflammation. Your chiropractor may suggest simple lifestyle changes including upgrading the type and placement of your keyboard, scheduling consistent breaks or retraining hand movements and work habits.
Immobilization of the wrist, anti-inflammatory medications and the application of ice packs are often utilized as remedies intended to quickly reduce carpal tunnel swelling.
Based on the level of severity, your CTS treatment program may include all of the following.
A misaligned spine is believed to increase the pain of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome. The median nerve originates in the brachial plexus, a network of nerves running from the spine. Chiropractic adjustments can reduce CTS pain by focusing on specific areas of the cervical spine. Additional, gentle adjustments to the wrist, elbow and neck can help relieve discomfort, improve motion and reduce irritation of the median nerve.
Specific stretching exercises may be administered by your physician, intended to provide more flexibility to your fingers, hands, wrists and forearms. You will be taught how to perform these stretches at home, reducing aggravation of your condition and preventing future inflammation of the carpal tunnel.
Massage of the forearm, wrist and hand is able to reduce the severity of your carpal tunnel pain. Your doctor will demonstrate how to perform these techniques at home between office visits, greatly decreasing chronic flare-ups.
If you have specific questions about treatment options for Carpal Tunnel Syndrome that aren’t answered here, please Ask the Doctor by completing the form to the right. A member of our staff will contact you as soon as possible.