CARPAL TUNNEL SYNDROME - HOW CHIROPRACTIC CAN HELP
Contributing author: Dr. Cynthia Schade (my own personal chiropractor in Austin, Texas - she’s the best!)
We have all heard of the term “carpal tunnel syndrome”, especially if you or someone you know works at a computer all day long. You may even think you know what it means, but do you really know the pain and suffering it can cause? It is said to be a repetitive stress injury… too much typing, too much repetitive motion and use of your arm/hands, like assembly line work. It is commonly thought to be a syndrome that has developed from all the tech gadgets in our modern world. Sure, it happened years ago with too much tennis, maybe too much golf, but the problem nowadays seems to have increased with the continuous use of our hands and arms from texting, typing, video games, computers, hobbies where we work with our hands, etc. Any repetitive motion over time causes pain in your wrists and elbows.
Carpal tunnel syndrome is caused by pressure on the median nerve, which supplies feelings and motion to the hands. To see where that is, wiggle your thumb around, and then check out the palm of your hand and the underside of your fingers. The carpal tunnel is where your nerve enters the hand at the wrist. This tunnel is not very wide, so any amount of inflammation or swelling can cause pain from a pinched nerve. It can cause a tingling sensation, numbness, damage to the muscle and weakness in the wrist.
If someone is born with a small carpal tunnel, then he or she can easily develop this syndrome. Studies about the causes of carpal tunnel syndrome are few and far between. It may develop from playing an instrument or playing sports for long periods of time.
Who Is At Risk of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome?
Even though this condition can develop from a variety of causes and issues, it seems that it is seen more often in women more than men. It also seems to occur more for those people between the ages of 30 years old and 60 years old. There are other factors that do seem to have a tendency to contribute to this type of syndrome. Such factors include infections, bone fractures, alcohol abuse, obesity, tumors or cysts, and arthritis in the wrist.
How Can I Make the Pain Go Away?
It has been proven that chiropractic treatment has been effective to relieve carpal tunnel pain. They have non-invasive ways to get relief from this syndrome.
It is very important that this injury be diagnosed and treated - the sooner the better. You will probably have to have some x-rays done when you see your chiropractor. There are specific adjustments for improper spinal alignment, including the chiropractor using his/her hands to realign the spine. Treatment will include addressing the affected wrist and elbow and treatment of the upper spine, which involves applying pressure to the joint. The chiropractor will tell you to apply cold to reduce swelling, to get plenty of rest, and advise you to do some prescribed exercises. You may be given a splint or brace to wear.
Each case is different and the chiropractor will discuss your case to decide the proper treatment needed to ease your pain and discomfort, and to get you back in good shape.
One method often used in the treatment of carpal tunnel syndrome is the ultrasound. This therapy deals with low and high energy sound. Both types of energy used here is outside the range of the hearing of humans, so, you won’t hear anything while you are connected to an ultrasound. Sound waves are emitted which penetrate into the body’s tissues. These sound waves go deeply and work to relax muscles and alleviate the pain; they also work to relieve inflammation in the involved areas.
There are several machines that the chiropractor has at his/her disposal to help you relieve the pain and discomfort of carpal tunnel syndrome. There are electrical pulse machines to help stimulate the muscles, cold packs to relieve inflammation, roller couches to ease up tight muscles and various exercises you may have to do at home.
If you or someone you love suffers from carpal tunnel syndrome, tell them to visit their local chiropractor as soon as possible. Keep in mind that if left untreated, carpal tunnel syndrome can result in damage to the nerve, resulting in numbness, tingling, and weakness.