As soon as I tweaked my back, I knew that I had a serious problem. I couldn't stand up straight and the pain was excruciating. I tried to hobble to the car, but I realized that I would need help. That day, my wife drove me to the nearest chiropractor, and that doctor helped me more than I thought was possible. After evaluating my condition, he informed me that I had a herniated disc in my back. In addition to adjusting my back to alleviate the pressure, the doctor also recommended some strengthening exercises that he said would help. These days, I can walk pain-free because of my chiropractor. Check out this blog to learn how a chiropractor can help you.
Chiropractors don't just treat back and neck problems. They treat lots of other pain conditions, including carpal tunnel syndrome. A chiropractor can answer questions you have about the disorder, including its causes, why you may be at risk, how the disorder is diagnosed, and how chiropractic treatment can help.
What is carpal tunnel syndrome?
Carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS) is an occupational medical condition that affects the hand and wrist. Repetitive movements of the hands can cause inflammation and swelling of tissue within the wrist, which can pinch or compress the median nerve.
This is the nerve in the wrist that provides sensation and movement to the thumb side of the hand. When seeking relief of symptoms, chiropractic treatment focuses on easing excessive pressure on the nerve to reduce pain and improve wrist movement.
What are the symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome?
Symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome include pain, stiffness, and tingling of the fingers and thumb. Pain isn't necessarily localized to the hand but can shoot up the arm to the shoulder. Numbness, loss of dexterity, and weakness in the hand—particularly at the base of the thumb—also may occur in the affected hand.
In some cases, your hand may feel swollen even though it doesn't look like it's swollen. You may experience a pins and needles sensation or have difficulty carrying and gripping objects.
What causes carpal tunnel syndrome?
Chronic inflammation, or repeated episodes of inflammation, causes fibrous tissue to form around the tendons, which attach to the bones of your fingers and thumb, restricting movement of your fingers and wrist. But carpal tunnel syndrome is actually caused by a problem with nerve conduction through the wrist and isn't a problem caused by an injury to the muscles in your wrist.
Chiropractors treat both musculoskeletal and nerve pain; therefore, if you prefer chiropractic care as an alternative treatment method, your chiropractor can employ treatment modalities to reduce pain and wrist immobility due to carpal tunnel syndrome.
What puts you at risk for developing carpal tunnel syndrome?
Although certain occupations put you at risk for carpal tunnel syndrome, family health history and some medical conditions increase your risk even more. But while arthritis, autoimmune disease, hypothyroidism, and diabetic neuropathy have been associated with carpal tunnel syndrome, studies also indicate that women and older adults are at higher risk for the disorder.
How do chiropractors diagnose carpal tunnel syndrome?
Chiropractors look for damage to the median nerve that runs past the wrist to the hand by tapping the nerve. Known as the Tinel test, tingling in one or more of your fingers on that hand as a result is a sign of carpal tunnel syndrome.
In addition to a physical examination, your chiropractor or doctor will ask you questions about your occupation and health history. He or she may also order nerve conduction studies to measure how quickly the nerves send electrical impulses through the hand.
What does chiropractic treatment for carpal tunnel syndrome involve?
Chiropractic treatment for carpal tunnel syndrome generally includes manipulation of the wrist and arm. If your chiropractor feels that misalignment in the upper spine may be contributing to your symptoms, treatment may include spinal manipulation.
In addition to correcting alignment in the spine, your chiropractor may use ultrasound therapy to reduce inflammation and relieve pain. He or she also may recommend wearing a splint to immobilize the wrist and guide you in carpal tunnel exercises to relieve pain and tingling sensations in the hands.
For more information and treatment options, talk with a local chiropractor, such as those at University Physical Medicine.