Carpal Tunnel Syndrome and How Chiropractic Can Help
It’s likely that you have heard of carpal tunnel syndrome, but you need to know the facts about this potentially debilitating condition. We will also inform you about how chiropractic treatments can help ease carpal tunnel syndrome or even eliminate the problem altogether.
What is Carpal Tunnel Syndrome?
Carpal tunnel syndrome affects the wrists, hands, and fingers by causing numbness, pain, and tingling in these areas. Mild carpal tunnel syndrome is annoying and worrisome. Severe cases can result in serious problems like loss of fine motor control and the inability to perform job duties and everyday tasks.
The carpal tunnel is a small space, about 2 centimetres in length, in the carpal bones – the bones of the wrist. An important nerve called the median nerve travels through the carpal tunnel. This nerve originates in the cervical spine, the vertebrae of the neck. The median nerve is responsible for movement and sensation in the wrist, hand, and every finger except the little finger.
When connective tissues around the carpal tunnel swell from inflammation, they compress the median nerve. This impingement, or pinching, of the nerve causes the unpleasant tingling, numbness, and pain characteristic of carpal tunnel syndrome. The syndrome often worsens over time, becoming more frequent and severe.
What Causes Carpal Tunnel Syndrome?
Typically, carpal tunnel syndrome results from repetitive motion. In other words, doing the same or similar tasks for hours on end day after day causes carpal tunnel. The syndrome is common among those who work on assembly lines and people who often type at a keyboard. While an acute injury to the wrist can also cause carpal tunnel syndrome, this is not a frequent reason for the problem.
Over time, the inflammation of connective tissues becomes chronic, and the median nerve becomes compressed to the point that symptoms are constant. At this point, the only way to relieve symptoms is to release the impinged nerve.
What Are the Treatments for Carpal Tunnel Syndrome?
In the early stages of carpal tunnel, heat, cold, massage, and anti-inflammatory medications can provide relief of the symptoms. However, these measures will not help correct the underlying cause – median nerve impingement. The best way to prevent the condition from progressing is to take frequent rest breaks and wear a wrist brace if instructed by your chiropractor.
Severe carpal tunnel can only be truly resolved by nerve release. This must be accomplished either surgically or by chiropractic treatment. Chiropractors are experts at releasing pinched and entrapped nerves, and an experienced chiropractor can often help release the median nerve at the wrist.
Furthermore, there are several conditions with symptoms that mimic carpal tunnel syndrome. These include diabetic neuropathy and cervical nerve root impingement. Your chiropractor will be able to tell if any of these problems are the true culprit.
Also, remember that the nerves that control motion and sensation in the arms and hands exit the spine at the cervical level. Chiropractic correction of problems in this spinal area can also help greatly with carpal tunnel symptoms.