The thought of being unable to hold a pencil, grip a steering wheel, or even grasp a cup of coffee strikes fear into the hearts of any able-bodied adult. But for many, that fear is on the brink of reality. Carpal tunnel syndrome, a numbing and tingling sensation in the hand and arm that can lead to a loss of grip, is all too common. With more than 3 million cases per year in the U.S., over 12,000 individuals have searched for carpal tunnel in the past 12 months in Florida alone.
Many worry that once given a carpal tunnel syndrome diagnosis, their only options are to suffer or to have invasive surgery. Luckily, this is not the case. Chiropractic is a non-invasive and gentle, yet effective method of treating carpal tunnel at the source, from the nerves to bones, ligaments, and muscles.
What is Carpal Tunnel Syndrome?
Carpal tunnel syndrome gets its name from the carpal tunnel, a narrow passageway located in the wrist. The carpal tunnel is composed of a network of bones and nerves, ligaments, tendons, and blood vessels. It's referred to as a tunnel because it houses the median nerve, which runs from the spine to the hand. When the median nerve is compressed, it can cause pain, weakness, or numbness.
Treatment for Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
Carpal tunnel syndrome is often approached with more aggressive treatment, such as anesthesia, corticosteroid injections, and surgery. These approaches aim to take pressure off the irritated median nerve. However, in 75 percent of surgical cases for carpal tunnel syndrome, pain symptoms return within a two-year period.
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 limitations and restrictions to their neck movement. More severe carpal tunnel syndrome pain also resulted in more neck restriction, while lesser pain resulted in easier motion of the neck. The study confirmed what chiropractors have known for decades: that carpal tunnel syndrome is innately linked to the upper spine, not the arm and wrist itself.
Due to the inherent link between the spine and the median nerve, chiropractic is a noninvasive method of addressing carpal tunnel syndrome symptoms. A more conservative treatment such as chiropractic is actually more effective at treating pain at the source.
Chiropractic Treatment for Pain Symptoms
Initial therapy for carpal tunnel syndrome will begin by resting the wrist, including possibly immobilizing the wrist to avoid further injury. A wrist splint worn during the night can keep the wrist in a neutral position, which can help prevent further irritation of the median nerve. This is often followed by cold therapy, which is urged to continue at home.
A chiropractor will then move forward with joint manipulation, spinal adjustments, and soft-tissue mobilization techniques. Chiropractic treatment for carpal tunnel syndrome include:
- Instrument Assisted Soft Tissue Mobilization (IASTM), such as the Graston Technique
- Spinal Manipulation
- Massage Therapy
- Ultrasound Therapy
A chiropractor will focus first on relieving pain in the wrist, but will continue treatment by addressing any alignment discrepancies in the neck. Additionally, a chiropractor will guide a patient through stretching exercises to help ease pain and inflammation, and maintain grip strength.
Seeking Carpal Tunnel Syndrome Treatment
Suffering carpal tunnel syndrome does not automatically mean invasive surgery or harmful injections. At ChiroCare of Florida offices, our dedicated physicians take a targeted approach to addressing carpal tunnel syndrome symptoms at the source. Our noninvasive, soothing therapies help alleviate pain and increase grip strength in the hand.
If you believe you're suffering from carpal tunnel syndrome, seek treatment. If you're experiencing an inability to grasp a pencil or pick up a cup, schedule your appointment with ChiroCare of Florida as soon as possible.