Carpal Tunnel Syndrome and Chiropractic Treatment
Carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS) is perhaps the most notorious of workplace disorders. Characterized by intense pain within the wrist, carpal tunnel is notably the most expensive of work-related injuries. There are several treatment options, but if surgery is out of the question, turning to chiropractic techniques is another solution.
What is Carpal Tunnel Syndrome?
Carpal tunnel affects the median nerve, which runs through the forearm and into the hand. When the nerve gets compressed into the carpal tunnel—which lies within the wrist and contains bones, nerves, tendons, and other soft tissue—it results in pain, weakness, and/or numbness in the hand and wrist.
What Are The Symptoms?
Those with CTS will likely feel burning, tingling, itching, and/or numbness in their palm, thumb, middle, or index finger. Some may feel as though their fingers are swollen and weakened, even when no swelling is apparent. Over time, people suffering from CTS will find it difficult to grasp objects and form a fist. In some cases, one will be unable to distinguish hot from cold.
Diagnosing carpal tunnel is fairly simple—if you get a regular physical examination of the arm, shoulder, hand, and neck area. Doctors and chiropractors also have different tests at their disposal in order to determine the presence of CTS. One is the pressure-provocative test, during which a cuff is placed on the carpal tunnel and then inflated, followed by pressure on the median nerve. The second, more recently-developed test is called the carpal compression test. During this procedure, pressure is applied directly on the carpal tunnel and median nerve using both thumbs.
How Chiropractic Treatment Can Help
Initial treatments consist of resting the hand and wrist, avoiding activities that place stress on the affected limb, putting the wrist in a splint, and applying cooling packs to reduce inflammation. Several chiropractic techniques that have been proven helpful in treating carpal tunnel include joint manipulation and mobilization of the hand and wrist, stretching and strengthening exercises, soft tissue mobilization techniques, and yoga. Acupuncture is being investigated as a possible treatment option, along with other therapies.