Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
Carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS) is a repetitive stress injury (RSI) of the wrist named as such because of the anatomical structure regarding this injury. The bones in the wrist (carpal bones) form a tunnel which the median nerve travels through as it goes from the forearm to the hand. Carpal tunnel syndrome is, therefore, an injury to this area of the wrist. Symptoms include pain and numbness in the index, middle fingers, and thumb, tingling in the hand(s), weakness, and pain shooting up the arm. As the condition progresses, patients can develop a burning sensation, and/or cramping and weakness of the hand. Decreased grip strength can lead to frequent dropping of objects from the hand. Chronic carpal tunnel syndrome can also lead to wasting (atrophy) of the hand muscles, particularly those near the base of the thumb in the palm of the hand.
Not all wrist pain should be considered CTS. It is important to determine, if in fact, the symptoms are being caused by the pressure on the inflamed nerves of the wrist, or if there is a different cause of the problem. It is VERY common for these types of symptoms to exist when there is a cervical spine misalignment, history of auto injury, or other spinal conditions. The nerves of the neck branch out to control all the nerves of our arms and hands in what we know as the brachial plexus. If the nerves of the neck are being irritated due to inflammation, wrist and hand pain is a common symptom. The chiropractors at this office are trained to determine whether your condition is a true carpal tunnel syndrome.
Carpal tunnel syndrome can be caused and worsened by repetitive motion and tasks, whereby the tendons in the carpal tunnel become swollen, which contributes to a pinched nerve in the carpal tunnel.
Examples of causes of CTS are:
- Repetitive motions
- Work-related repetition (small hand tools, sewing, computers, cutting, checkouts, assembly lines, typing, accountants, writers, etc.)
- Wrist injury
- Rheumatoid arthritis
Many of the patients who seek chiropractic treatment for repetitive stress injuries (RSIs) do so because it is not nearly as invasive as other medical interventions, which often rely on treatments such as medications and surgical procedures and can lead to long lay-offs from work or activity.
Typically, the chiropractic treatment for RSI includes manipulation of the affected wrist and elbow, as well as manipulation of the cervical and thoracic spine if necessary. A spinal manipulation involves applying controlled pressure to a fixated joint that may be irritating the nerve innervating the arm/wrist disrupting proper function. If warranted, the doctor may utilize therapeautic modalities such as electrical stimulation, ultrasound, cold/heat therapy and taping techniques to control inflammation surrounding the wrist and forearm. After treatment, the chiropractor may also advise the patient to rest the affected arm, apply cold to reduce inflammation, perform appropriate exercises, or wear a splint or brace to immobilize the area.
With concerns regarding carpal tunnel syndrome and other related issues please contact the office at 732-920-8188 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.