Carpal tunnel syndrome, or CTS, is when the median nerve that runs from the forearm into the hand becomes compressed. Carpal tunnel can cause significant pain and numbness that makes it difficult to use your hand properly.
Carpal tunnel affects approximately 3% of the population in the United States. Carpal tunnel sufferers, you are well aware of how uncomfortable the condition can be. Fortunately, there are effective treatments that do not require surgery. Chiropractic care can help relieve carpal tunnel pain and can often improve mobility and range of motion in the process.
What is Carpal Tunnel?
The term “carpal tunnel” refers to an actual tunnel created by ligaments and bones in the wrist. Tendons and median nerves travel from the forearm through the carpal tunnel in the wrist and into the hand. When the median nerve becomes compressed inside the carpal tunnel—usually due to injury or inflammation—it can lead to the symptoms associated with CTS.
Cause of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
The exact cause of CTS is not always easy to identify, but many factors can play a role. A family history of CTS makes it more likely that you will develop the condition. Repetitive work, such as a job on an assembly line, is known to increase the risk of CTS. Wrist injuries can also cause carpal tunnel. Other contributing factors are not as obvious, such as pregnancy, menopause, and dialysis.
Symptoms and Progression of Carpal Tunnel
The first signs of carpal tunnel often include pins and needles in the wrist, hands, and fingers. You may notice some numbness from time to time, especially after using the wrist in a way that causes compression-like performing a task over and over at work.
Over time, the symptoms can become more severe. Eventually, carpal tunnel can lead to a loss of coordination with the thumb, then other digits. Pain may not be significant at first but tends to get worse, and the condition progresses.
How Chiropractic Care Can Help With Carpal Tunnel
Standard medical treatments for carpal tunnel include using anti-inflammatory drugs, refraining from using the wrist/hand, wearing a splint, and eventually surgery. While these treatments can sometimes be effective, the risks associated with surgery are significant. Carpal tunnel surgery may or may not fix the problem, and as with any surgery, it can sometimes cause more issues than it helps.
Learning to Protect Your Body
Chiropractic care offers a safe alternative to standard medical care, which is non-invasive and minimizes the need for medications and their potential side effects. Chiropractic treatments for carpal tunnel can help to reduce inflammation and minimize pain. But chiropractic goes further than just treating the symptoms—it can also help you avoid aggravating the condition so that it can heal.
Chiropractors are trained in proper movement and ergonomics. Your chiropractor can help you understand what you are doing that is causing the carpal tunnel to begin with. They can also advise you on ways to adjust your movements to protect your wrists moving forward. You may learn new ways of doing things that will allow you to achieve your goals without risking injury.
One of the fundamentals of chiropractic care is improving strength and mobility to aid in healing and protect from further injury. Your chiropractor can guide you through exercises to make you stronger. Once you know how to do the exercises, you can do them at home to continue to gain strength.
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