Carpal Tunnel Treatment, Carpal Tunnel Chiropractor Andersonville
Chiropractic Therapy Treatment Choice for Carpal Tunnel
Chiropractic is a proven safe and effective therapy for carpal tunnel syndrome that facilitates healing, relieves pain, and returns strength to the wrist and other affected areas that doesn’t rely on surgery or medications. Besides alleviating the symptoms of CTS, chiropractic also addresses any structural/postural components as well as any lifestyle issues (i.e. diet) that may otherwise contribute to the condition’s return.
As many as 8 million men, women, and – yes- children in the U.S., have carpal tunnel syndrome, some reports say. In years past carpal tunnel has consistently been the leading cause of missed days from work, according to the U.S. Department of Labor.
What is Carpal Tunnel Syndrome?
Carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS) is what’s known as a “repetitive motion injury”, which is just what it sounds like – an injury caused by making some motion or holding some posture repeatedly, over and over. CTS is one of the most common of these types of injuries, and the most common cause of it is typing.
Many people mistakenly refer to carpal tunnel syndrome as simply “carpal tunnel”, but the carpal tunnel is actually a part of the human body – specifically the narrow passageway made up of bones and ligaments in each of the wrists that tendons and nerves pass through to and from the hands. Carpal tunnel syndrome, then, is the set of symptoms arising when these tendons and nerves become compressed or irritated and inflamed.
Symptoms of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
When the wrist is used improperly, when it is overused, or when it is injured, the tissues can become inflamed. When this happens, they press against the nerves and tendons in the carpal tunnel, compressing them, and causing a range of symptoms from discomfort to pain.
To understand the symptoms of CTS better, it helps to understand just a bit more about the anatomy involved. These nerves we refer to, the median nerves, provide sensation to the hand and control their muscle movement. The tendons, meanwhile, are how our fingers are able to bend.
When carpal tunnel syndrome occurs, then, the sufferer can experience weakness, tingling, numbing, and painful sensations in the hand and wrist, this from the effect on the median nerves; and can have difficulty bending and unbending the fingers, this from the effect on the tendons involved. The one exception, the only finger not usually affected by CTS symptoms, is the pinkie.
Sometimes the pain and other CTS symptoms can be felt shooting up the arm and the back and the shoulder too. Also in some cases, visible swelling of the hand and wrist may occur. In extreme cases, these symptoms can cause the person to have difficulty holding onto objects, start dropping things, and become unable to perform certain simple motor tasks, like tying shoelaces.
CTS pain typically worsens at nighttime, and sufferers have been known to be awoken in the middle of the night by the pain.
Carpal tunnel syndrome is no matter to take lightly. If left untreated, not only can there be long-term numbness in one or more fingers, but the thumb can actually be weakened permanently, and the muscles inside the thumb eventually waste away. Permanent injury happens in about 1% of all CTS cases.
Causes of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
Before we examine what chiropractic has to offer carpal tunnel syndrome sufferers, let’s first take a closer look at the condition’s causes.
As noted above, typing – as on a typewriter or keyboard – is the predominant causes of CTS. As such, it is a frequent occurrence in office workplaces, though it can also be associated with jobs and vocations involving grasping the handles of tools that vibrate (such as constructions workers), or the steering wheels of cars (such as school bus drivers). It is also commonly seen in factory and assembly-line type workers where the same small physical motions are required to be repeated for most of the day, each day on the job.
Carpal tunnel syndrome can also occur as a result of certain recreational activities, like weightlifting or rowing or bicycling. Or even through less physical activities, like embroidery and needlepoint.
The last cause of CTS to be aware of is other medical conditions. Symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome can arise as a consequence of some other medical condition, which is all the more reason to take such symptoms seriously and consult your chiropractor or physician about them as soon as you notice them.
Some of the other medical conditions that CTS has been known to be associated with are alcoholism, arthritis, diabetes mellitus, fractures, gout, hypothyroidism, pregnancy, and problems with the spine.
Chiropractic for Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
In a study published in 1997 called “Comparative efficacy of conservative medical and chiropractic treatments for carpal tunnel syndrome” found that, in a study of 91 CTS patients, chiropractic care (which included wrist, arm, and spinal manipulations with ultrasound and night-time wrist supports) was equally as effective as traditional medical treatment (which included ibuprofen and wrist splints). (J Manipulative Physiol Ther. 21.5, June 1997: 317-326)
In a 1990 study called “A treatment for carpal tunnel syndrome: evaluation of objective and subjective measures” 38 CTS patients underwent chiropractic treatments that included spinal manipulations, extremity adjustments, and soft tissue manipulations, along with prescribed daily exercises, dietary changes and/or the addition of nutritional supplements to the daily regimen. Results post-treatment revealed improvement in all measures of strength and range of motion, along with a reduction of almost 15% in how patients rated their pain and distress levels. (J Manipulative Physiol Ther. 13.9, Nov/Dec 1990)
Thirty eight CTS sufferers underwent spinal manipulation and extremity adjusting. In addition, soft tissue manipulation, dietary modifications or supplements and daily exercises were prescribed. Post treatment results showed improvement in all strength and range of motion measures. A significant reduction of nearly 15% in pain and distress ratings were documented.”
When you come to our office, the doctor will make a full evaluation of your condition, particularly to determine whether you’re experiencing CTS on its own or in association with some other medical condition. This evaluation will take into account your medical history, your reported signs and symptoms, and the results of a physical examination.
Once CTS has been diagnosed, your chiropractor will begin treatment, which may include soft tissue manipulation and/or joint manipulation, possibly in combination with prescribing certain hand, wrist, shoulder, and neck exercises as well as ice, ultrasound, and/or electric muscle stimulation therapies.
Very likely the doctor will also recommend ergonomic adjustments to the way you perform the activities suspected in causing or contributing to the condition. Please note, however, that unless instructed to do so by a doctor, you should not engage in CTS wrist exercises on your own volition, as they can prove counterproductive if the swelling and pain have not been reduced, and could make the condition worse. Should you wish to explore CTS prevention exercises, your doctor would be more than happy to recommend some.
As with almost any medical condition, carpal tunnel syndrome is easiest to treat the earlier it is detected.
Note: Women are 3 times as likely as men to develop CTS.