Can a Chiropractor Help with Carpal Tunnel?
If you have symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome, you may be putting off seeking medical advice because you believe surgery is your only treatment option. Many people aren't aware that surgical procedures are not always needed, and that chiropractic treatment for carpal tunnel syndrome can be very effective.
What Is Carpel Tunnel Syndrome?
Carpal tunnel syndrome is so named because of the area of the body affected by the condition. The carpal tunnel is a narrow, passageway, similar to a tunnel, in the palm side of the wrist. The sides and bottom of the passageway are formed by the wrist bones, which are called carpals. The top of the carpal tunnel is covered by a strong ligament.
The carpal tunnel provides protection for the median nerve as it travels into the hand from the forearm. This nerve is responsible for feeling in many of the fingers and for some of the thumb's movement. Tendons also run through the carpal tunnel that control movement in the thumb and fingers.
If the tissues inside the wrist swell due to inflammation, they can compress or pinch the median nerve and the tendons in the carpal tunnel and carpal tunnel syndrome occurs. Many times this is a repetitive stress injury, caused by performing the same movements with the wrist or hand repeatedly over a long period of time.
Causes of Carpel Tunnel Syndrome include:
- Using hand tools
- Working on an assembly line
- Typing on a computer or keyboard
- Hand sewing or stitching
The symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome usually come on slowly and are not related to a specific injury. Most of the time, the symptoms are worse on the thumb side of the hand and include:
- Pain, tingling, and numbness in the hand
- A sensation like an electric shock, mostly in the index and long fingers, and in the thumb
- Pain and unusual sensations that radiate up the wrist toward the shoulder
Many people wake up at night with severe pain and tingling and have problems during the day when trying to grasp or hold onto objects. The symptoms of carpal tunnel may come and go at first, but for most people the condition will get progressively worse without some form of treatment.
Chiropractor for Carpal Tunnel
Chiropractic treatment for carpal tunnel will usually begin with an examination to determine the cause of your symptoms. After discussing your medical history and symptoms, your chiropractor will most likely examine your hand and may perform the following tests:
- Check for weakness in your hand, at the base of the thumb
- Bend and hold your wrist in different positions, checking for tingling or numbness in your hand
- Press on your wrist to see if this causes tingling or numbness
- Tap your wrist, along the median nerve, to see if this produces symptoms
Your chiropractor may also order X-rays of your wrist before treating carpal tunnel syndrome, especially if you have limited movement in your wrist. Carpal tunnel syndrome in many cases can be modified or stopped with treatment.
Chiropractic Treatment for Carpal Tunnel in Redondo Beach
A chiropractor can help carpel tunnel syndrome and the pain associated with it through the following holistic chiropractic treatment:
- Manipulation:. Treating carpal tunnel usually involves gentle adjustments and mobilization of the wrist, elbow, and upper spine. If there is misalignment in the spine, this can contribute to the symptoms of CTS. Reducing inflammation all along the path of the nerves can decrease inflammation and allow for healing.
- Ultrasound Therapy: Chiropractic carpal tunnel treatment sometimes includes this therapy, which reduces inflammation, relaxes muscles, and decreases pain. Focused sound waves penetrate deep into inflamed, irritated tissues.
- Rehab and Prevention: With decreased symptoms of carpal tunnel, chiropractic focuses on strengthening and increasing the function of the hand and wrist through gentle stretches and exercise.
Treating carpal tunnel with chiropractic also sometimes includes the use of wrist supports to ensure proper alignment of the structures after adjustments and to provide support to help prevent inflammation from returning.
When diagnosed and treated early, complications of CTS like severe muscle wasting and irreversible nerve damage can be avoided. If you have symptoms of CTS and have avoided treatment, thinking surgery was inevitable, think again. Chiropractic treatment for carpal tunnel syndrome is safe and it is non-invasive. Call and see how your chiropractor can help you today.