Carpal Tunnel Syndrome is a peripheral nerve disorder that results in numbness, burning pain, tingling, and weakness in the hand or arm. It occurs when the median nerve, which runs from the forearm to the hand through a narrow passage called the carpal tunnel, becomes compressed or squeezed.
Compression of the median nerve can lead to various symptoms, including:
- Numbness or tingling: Individuals with carpal tunnel syndrome may experience a sensation of numbness, tingling, or a “pins and needles” feeling in the thumb, index finger, middle finger, and the thumb side of the ring finger.
- Weakness: Weakness in the hand and a tendency to drop objects may occur due to the compression of the nerve.
- Pain or discomfort: Some people with carpal tunnel syndrome may experience aches or pain in the wrist, palm, or forearm. The pain can sometimes radiate up the arm or even into the shoulder.
- Hand stiffness: Individuals may notice decreased dexterity and stiffness in their fingers, making it challenging to perform tasks that require fine motor skills.
The symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome typically develop gradually and may be more noticeable during activities that involve repetitive hand movements, such as typing, using a computer mouse, or gripping tools. People who make repetitive motions for more than five hours daily are at the highest risk of developing median nerve compression. These individuals are involved in certain professions requiring fine motor control, such as writers, carpenters, musicians, and assembly line workers.
Conventional carpal tunnel treatment includes anti-inflammatory medications and surgery. Chiropractors prefer a more conservative, natural, non-invasive approach to carpal tunnel relief. By addressing the underlying issue of median nerve compression, we can stop carpal tunnel pain and prevent future bouts rather than covering up the symptoms with temporary solutions.
How Our Carpal Tunnel Care Plan Works
1. Get To The Root Cause of The Problem
Pain is not the problem, it is merely alerting us to the problem. We follow your pain to the root of the problem, so we can uncover your body’s seen and unseen dysfunction. Addressing that underlying dysfunction will lead to long-term, sustained health and well-being.
2. Create The Best Plan of Action
A one-size-fits-all solution won’t work – even for two patients with the same issue. We create a plan of action that is based on your unique situation and health goals, ensuring the solution suits you and not the other way around.
3. Get Back To Living Your Best Life
Our body is capable of incredible things. You deserve a life of abundant joy. Illness or injury interferes with that life, making simple tasks more difficult and draining your energy. A body in full health is able to flourish, unleashing your full potential onto the world.
How We Treat Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
Specific Chiropractic Care
After a comprehensive history and thorough examination, we can create a carpal tunnel treatment plan specific to your needs and situation. Chiropractors are joint experts. The many bones in the hands and wrist mean many tiny joints. When any of these joints become restricted, or the positioning of the bones is incorrect, it can contribute to the development of carpal tunnel syndrome. Chiropractors employ gentle adjustments targeted at the wrist to alleviate these restrictions and restore proper alignment, improving range of motion, reducing pain, and enhancing the body’s capacity to heal.
Custom Therapeutic Exercises
Our body heals best through movement. Customized stretching and strengthening exercises will assist the healing process and help re-establish musculoskeletal balance in the area. This will improve the function not only of the wrist but of the entire arm as well.
Soft Tissue Work
Many muscles and tendons pass through the carpal tunnel and can be affected by inflammation. Helping muscles function better is a critical component of treating carpal tunnel. Alleviating muscle tension helps restore normal function. Graston Technique and Active Release Technique, two common muscle therapies, remove adhesions that impair muscle function. Using specialized equipment and dynamic stretching, respectively, these two techniques work with chiropractic adjustments to treat carpal tunnel syndrome effectively.
Deep Tissue Laser
We use deep tissue laser to accelerate healing times and reduce inflammation in patients with carpal tunnel syndrome. Deep tissue laser uses light therapy to stimulate healing at the cellular level. Reducing inflammation in the wrist allows the muscles and nerves to heal more efficiently.
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Carpal Tunnel Syndrome Symptoms
The pain from median nerve compression can be mild, but it is usually quite bothersome. The hand or wrist will feel numb and tingly, which may interfere with your ability to grip objects tightly or use a mouse at the computer for long periods. Pain is a frequent symptom in the palm, thumb, index finger, middle finger, and half of the ring finger. The pain may radiate up the arm or extend to the shoulder.
Numbness and tingling sensations, known as paresthesia, are hallmark symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome. The affected fingers and hand may feel “asleep” or have a sensation of “pins and needles”. Numbness and tingling often occur at night and may wake individuals from sleep.
As carpal tunnel syndrome progresses, weakness in the hand and a decrease in grip strength may occur, making it difficult to work or perform everyday tasks. Additionally, stiffness and reduced flexibility in the hand and wrist may interfere with fine motor skills and intricate hand movements. Muscle atrophy (shrinking or wasting of muscles) in the thumb area is also observed in severe or chronic cases.
Frequently Asked Questions
What helps carpal tunnel heal faster?
Chiropractic care, including adjustments, manual therapy, and stretching and strengthening exercises, may relieve carpal tunnel pain and support the healing process. We offer personalized treatment plans based on each patient’s condition and needs. We may also recommend:
- Rest and Immobilization
- Cold Therapy
- Avoid Trigging Activities
- Stress Reduction
Chiropractic care focuses on the structural issues causing the condition and optimizes the nervous system to improve healing.
Is ice or heat better for carpal tunnel syndrome?
When choosing between heat and ice for carpal tunnel syndrome, we recommend cold therapy (ice or cold packs) rather than heat. Cold therapy can help reduce inflammation and provide pain relief, while heat can worsen inflammation and increase swelling, exacerbating symptoms.
How do I stop my hands from going numb when I sleep?
Adjust your sleeping position to reduce pressure on your wrists and hands. Try to avoid sleeping with your wrists bent or flexed excessively. Keep your wrists in a neutral position by sleeping with your hands straight or using a wrist splint or brace to maintain proper alignment.
Incorporating gentle hand and wrist stretches into your daily routine, especially before bedtime, can help improve flexibility, reduce stiffness, and alleviate symptoms.
Can carpal tunnel syndrome heal without surgery?
Yes! Chiropractic care offers a non-invasive approach to carpal tunnel relief. Surgery should always be the last option. We can create a unique plan for each patient using chiropractic adjustments, manual therapy, and custom exercise routines to help alleviate carpal tunnel pain and prevent future flare-ups. The longer it takes to address carpal tunnel, the harder it becomes to fix the problem. That’s why it’s critical to address issues as soon as possible.
What causes carpal tunnel to flare up?
Increased pressure on the median nerve leads to a worsening of symptoms. Repetitive hand or wrist movements, forceful actions, poor ergonomics and bad posture, or poor sleeping position can all lead to increased nerve irritation and trigger carpal tunnel symptoms.