Spine Spot Chiropractic




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Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

What is Carpal Tunnel Syndrome?

While many consider back pain to be the number one cause of workplace disability, it turns out that a painful condition in the arm, wrist, and fingers known as carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS) actually accounts for the highest number of workdays missed due to a work-related injury. Nearly half of the CTS cases reported result in 31 or more missed workdays, and over a lifetime this debilitating condition will cost a typical patient about $30,000 in medical bills and missed work.

Carpal tunnel syndrome is the best-known form among a group of traumatic conditions known as repetitive stress injuries. CTS is a progressive condition associated with repetitive motion of the hands. It can cause pain, numbness, tingling, a burning sensation, the feeling of electric shocks shooting into the hand, and difficulty grasping objects or making a fist. Fortunately, this disabling disorder can often be helped with chiropractic treatment.

Carpal Tunnel Syndrome Basalt Aspen Carbondale

Causes of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

To understand carpal tunnel syndrome, let’s take a look at the anatomy of the wrist. The carpal tunnel is a narrow passageway in the wrist made of bones, ligaments, and tendons. The median nerve runs from the forearm into the palm of the hand, passing through the carpal tunnel to provide sensation and function to the thumb, index finger, middle finger, and half of the ring finger. Ligaments responsible for finger movement also pass through the carpal tunnel.

While this structure inside the wrist allows for optimal hand and wrist function in people who engage in varied activities throughout the day, some occupations and hobbies require repetitive micro-movements of the hand day after day—such as those required for data entry, working on an assembly line, knitting, playing stringed instruments, meat packing and hairstyling, for example. When repetitive motion causes irritation and swelling, the median nerve can be compressed by the movement of the carpal bones, and/or tendons may become constricted, leading to carpal tunnel syndrome. Additionally, small repetitive motions have been shown to cause an inflammatory response in the body, which may play a role in CTS. Women are three times more likely than men to experience this condition, possibly due to the smaller size of most women’s carpal tunnel.

In the early stages of CTS, a person may begin to experience occasional numbness or tingling in the thumb, index, and middle finger. As the condition progresses, a numbness, tingling, or burning sensation in the fingers occurs more frequently. There may be limited feeling or movement in the hand, which can occur with or without pain in the wrist, palm, or forearm close to the wrist. Numbness and weakness may cause a person with CTS to drop objects frequently since the median nerve controls the thumb function used for grasping.

Treatment for Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

CTS has often been treated by general medical providers with procedures like surgery, steroid injections, and pain medication. However, according to the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, fewer than half of those who undergo the surgery say their hands feel completely normal following the procedure.

Chiropractic care, in contrast, takes a non-invasive, drug-free approach, so it makes sense to seek a consultation with a chiropractor before resorting to more drastic measures. Upon your visit with your chiropractor, they may take a basic history and perform an examination to find out the root cause of the tingling or numbness. There are many different reasons a person could be experiencing tingling and numbness in the hands that may not be caused by carpal tunnel syndrome, so it’s important to have your CTS diagnosed by a medical professional before any self-treatment.

Chiropractic treatment for carpal tunnel syndrome Basalt Aspen Carbondale

Chiropractic treatment for CTS may involve a variety of techniques. Since the median nerve actually starts in the upper spine, a chiropractor may approach treatment for CTS with gentle adjustments of the cervical spine as well as of the elbow and wrist.

The chiropractor may also employ soft tissue therapy using specialized instruments and/or therapeutic massage. In addition, hot and cold packs, muscle stimulation, ultrasound, cold laser therapy, or traction may be used. Cold laser therapy in particular, designed to improve tissue repair and reduce pain and inflammation, has been used in chiropractic care for CTS for many years.

Stretching exercises may help as well as lifestyle recommendations involving posture, pacing of activities, and ergonomic furnishings such as arm and wrist supports, keyboard trays, and a special ergonomically arranged keyboard.

Carpal Tunnel Syndrome Chiropractic Care

As technology continues to dominate our daily lives, more and more people are experiencing the discomfort and pain associated with carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS). This condition, which affects the wrist and hand, can be debilitating for those who suffer from it. Fortunately, chiropractic care offers a holistic approach to treating carpal tunnel syndrome and alleviating its symptoms.

What is Carpal Tunnel Syndrome?

Understanding the Median Nerve Compression

Carpal tunnel syndrome occurs when the median nerve, which runs from the forearm into the palm of the hand, becomes compressed or squeezed at the wrist. This compression can lead to pain, numbness, and tingling in the affected hand and wrist.

Common Symptoms of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

Individuals with carpal tunnel syndrome may experience a range of symptoms, including numbness, tingling, and weakness in the hand. They may also have difficulty gripping objects or performing fine motor tasks.

Potential Causes of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

Carpal tunnel syndrome can be caused by a variety of factors, including repetitive motion, wrist injury, or conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis. Additionally, certain individuals, such as women who don't strain their wrists, may be at a higher risk for developing the condition.

How Can Chiropractic Care Help Carpal Tunnel Syndrome?

Chiropractic Treatment for Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

Chiropractors employ a range of techniques to address carpal tunnel syndrome, including adjustments to the wrist, hand, and spine. These adjustments can help alleviate pressure on the median nerve and promote healing.

Ways Chiropractic Care can Alleviate Symptoms of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

In addition to adjustments, chiropractors may recommend therapeutic exercises and stretches to improve wrist and hand function. They may also provide ergonomic guidance to ensure daily activities don't strain the wrist.

Preventive Chiropractic Care for Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

Chiropractors can also work with individuals to prevent carpal tunnel syndrome from developing or worsening. This may involve lifestyle modifications and ongoing chiropractic care to maintain wrist and hand health.

Benefits of Consulting a Chiropractor for Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

Understanding the Role of a Chiropractor in Treating Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

Chiropractors play a crucial role in providing holistic and non-invasive care for carpal tunnel syndrome. By addressing the root causes of the condition, chiropractors can help individuals find long-term relief from their symptoms.

Chiropractic Care for Hand and Wrist Health

Chiropractors focus on optimizing hand and wrist function through targeted adjustments and therapeutic techniques. This approach can enhance mobility and reduce discomfort related to carpal tunnel syndrome.

Reduction of Repetitive Stress Injuries Through Chiropractic Care

Chiropractors can also assist in mitigating the impact of repetitive stress injuries on the wrists, potentially preventing the development of carpal tunnel syndrome in at-risk individuals.

Risk Factors and Prevention Techniques for Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

Identifying and Addressing Risk Factors for Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

By evaluating an individual's lifestyle and work habits, chiropractors can identify and address potential risk factors for carpal tunnel syndrome. This may involve recommending ergonomic improvements and lifestyle modifications.

Preventive Measures to Avoid Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

Chiropractors can educate individuals on strategies to prevent carpal tunnel syndrome, such as proper hand and wrist positioning during activities and regular wrist exercises.

Chiropractic Techniques for Preventing Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

Through proactive chiropractic care, individuals can maintain optimal spinal and wrist health, reducing the likelihood of developing carpal tunnel syndrome.

The Role of Spinal Health in Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

Link Between Spinal Alignment and Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

Spinal misalignments can contribute to nerve compression and dysfunction in the wrist and hand. Chiropractic care focuses on restoring spinal alignment to alleviate pressure on the nerves, potentially relieving symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome.

Chiropractic Care to Address Spinal Issues Related to Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

Chiropractors may employ spinal adjustments and postural corrections to address underlying issues that can lead to carpal tunnel syndrome. By improving overall spinal health, chiropractic care can positively impact wrist and hand function.

Reducing Numbness and Tingling Through Spinal Care

Through targeted spinal care, chiropractors can help reduce numbness and tingling in the hands and wrists, offering relief to individuals with carpal tunnel syndrome.

Why Seek Chiropractic Care for Carpal Tunnel Syndrome?

Both the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS) and the University of Maryland Medical Center have listed chiropractic therapy as an acceptable alternative to standard medical care for CTS, and clinical research over the past 25 years supports chiropractic care for the treatment and management of CTS. Chiropractic care offers individuals with CTS an effective option to help regain lost function and quality of life—and may help CTS sufferers avoid unnecessary, invasive, and potentially unsuccessful surgery.

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Dr. James Fraser

Doctor of Chiropractic