What can begin as a slight burning or tingling in the thumb can seem to rapidly spread throughout the hand until all fingers are affected. The devastating symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome effect more than 3 million people each year in the United States alone. And for many, they believe carpal tunnel pain relief can only come in the form of invasive surgery or injections.
At ChiroCare of Florida, our trusted carpal tunnel treatment provides patients with safe and effective relief of pain symptoms. Working together with one of our experienced physicians allows you to treat carpal tunnel at the source, and begin working towards a pain-free life. For more information on our carpal tunnel remedies, continue reading.
What Is Carpal Tunnel Syndrome?
Carpal tunnel syndrome affects the carpal tunnel, a narrow passageway made of bones and ligaments located on the palm side of the wrist. It’s called the carpal “tunnel” because the median nerve, which controls movement and sensation in the thumb and first three fingers, runs through it much like how a car would travel through a tunnel. The median nerve is joined by tendons which run to the fingers and thumb through the carpal tunnel.
As with all nerves, when the median nerve is compressed or pinched, it will cause numbness, weakness, tingling, or pain. Since the median nerve is responsible for communication sensation to the thumb and fingers, when it is compressed within the carpal tunnel its effects will radiate into the hand as well. We refer to this as carpal tunnel syndrome. Without proper carpal tunnel syndrome treatment, symptoms can lead to a loss of grip in the affected hand.
What Causes Carpal Tunnel Syndrome?
In addition to being very narrow, the carpal is also very rigid. Therefore, whenever there is inflammation in the area, the swelling can compress the median nerve. Carpal tunnel syndrome can be caused by a variety of reasons, from excess pressure on the median nerve, fluid retention, and repetitive irritation of the endings housed between tendons and under ligaments on the palm side of the wrist.
While carpal tunnel syndrome is referred to as a repetitive stress injury, meaning it can be brought on by repetitive motion such as typing or assembly line work, carpal tunnel syndrome can also be triggered by:
- Inflammatory arthritis
- Sprain or fracture of the wrist
- Over-activity of the pituitary gland
- Fluid retention during pregnancy or menopause
Women are three times as prone to developing carpal tunnel syndrome than men. While the exact reason has not been determined, doctors suspect this is due to the small size of most women’s carpal tunnel.
What Are the Warning Signs of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome?
Though the effects of carpal tunnel syndrome can make it appear that grip strength rapidly deteriorates, carpal tunnel syndrome actually develops slowly. Most patients begin to notice the first warning signs at night or early in the morning when the hands seem to fall asleep, or have a pins-and-needles sensation. Throughout the day, many notice tingling or pain when gripping things like a pen or the steering wheel.
As symptoms progress, the thumb and first two fingers are the first to begin experiencing weakness and numbness. It may become difficult to grasp objects or make a fist. Feelings of swelling or lack of sensory-recognition is common.
Symptoms of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
Symptoms may be present in one or both hands, however, symptoms typically develop in the dominant hand first. Common symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome felt in the hands and wrists include:
- Feeling like the fingers are swollen
- Trouble distinguishing between hot and cold
Carpal Tunnel Relief at ChiroCare of Florida
As with all carpal tunnel syndrome treatments, pain relief must begin at the median nerve. However, traditional treatment and invasive surgeries address the compression of the nerve by cutting the ligament overlying the top of the carpal tunnel. When the ligament heals the goal is to allow more space in the carpal tunnel.
However, more often than not, surgical cases for carpal tunnel pain relief fail. In fact, in 75 percent of surgical cases, pain symptoms return within a 2-year period. At ChiroCare of Florida offices, we believe the carpal tunnel relief is possible without the need for invasive surgeries. Instead, we look beyond localized pain to identify how and where carpal tunnel remedies are needed.
To the surprise of many, carpal tunnel treatment will addresses not only pain in the wrist and hand, but also misalignments of bones, ligaments, and muscles of the neck. Let’s take a look at how they’re connected.
The Spine and the Carpal Tunnel
In a recent study observing the range of motion for 71 women with carpal tunnel syndrome, it was found that women with carpal tunnel syndrome had significant mobile restrictions in the neck. More severe carpal tunnel syndrome symptoms in the wrist and hand also resulted in more neck restriction, while lesser pain resulted in easier motion of the neck.
The study’s findings confirmed a truth chiropractors have known for decades; carpal tunnel syndrome is innately linked to the upper spine. Muscle tightness and dislocation caused by subluxations or misalignments within the spine cause a domino effect, affecting the major nerves of the body – including the median nerve.
With respect to the inherent link between the spine and the median nerve, chiropractic is a noninvasive method of addressing carpal tunnel syndrome symptoms. As opposed to invasive methods, a more conservative treatment such as chiropractic is actually more effective at treating pain at the source.
Carpal Tunnel Syndrome Treatment
For effective pain relief of carpal tunnel syndrome symptoms, invasive approaches such as surgery or injections into the wrist will never actually address the body as a whole. At ChiroCare of Florida, our physicians begin carpal tunnel syndrome treatment by first resting the wrist.
This could mean immobilizing the wrist and hand to prevent further injury. Wearing a wrist splint at night and in the morning when symptoms tend to spike keeps the wrist in a neutral position, avoiding further irritation of the median nerve. This is complemented by soothing carpal tunnel remedies including cold therapy and targeted acupuncture treatment.
Next, a chiropractor will address the subluxations of the upper spine. This is done by performing chiropractic adjustments which provide a direct, gentle force to shift the misaligned structures back into their respective places within the spine.
Chiropractic treatment for carpal tunnel syndrome include:
- Instrument Assisted Soft Tissue Mobilization (IASTM), such as the Graston Technique
- Spinal Manipulation
- Ultrasound Therapy
- Massage Therapy
But, chiropractic treatment is not only contained to the office. Your physician will guide you through stretching exercises to complete at home to help ease pain and inflammation, and maintain grip strength.
The Dangers of Untreated Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
While carpal tunnel syndromes can come and go initially, as the condition persists symptoms can become constant. Pain can begin to radiate from the hands and wrists up into the arm and all the way up to the shoulder. In turn, untreated carpal tunnel syndrome can become a chronic pain condition that limits mobility and causes sensory difficulties throughout the upper body.
Likewise, failing to receive carpal tunnel treatment can cause atrophy on the thumb side of the hand. This means that the muscles can literally waste away, diminishing strength and sensation permanently.
If you’ve been experiencing carpal tunnel syndrome symptoms, there’s no time to waste. With 11 offices throughout the South Florida area, there is always a ChiroCare of Florida office ready to treat your pain symptoms. Contact ChiroCare of Florida today to get started.