Can Chiropractic Care Help Carpal Tunnel Syndrome?

3 min read

Carpal tunnel syndrome affects millions of Americans, causing pain and tingling in the hand, wrist and arm. It’s an extremely common nerve disorder more often experienced by older adults or those who regularly use their hands and wrists in repetitive motions.

What is Carpal Tunnel Syndrome and What Causes it?

Carpal tunnel syndrome is caused by compression of the median nerve as it travels through the carpal tunnel in the wrist. This narrow passageway in the wrist, about an inch wide, is formed by the carpal bones of the wrist on the floor and sides of the tunnel. The roof of the tunnel is a strong band of connective tissue called the transverse carpal ligament.

Overuse of the hand and wrist can lead to inflammation which causes the nerve to press and restrict the nerves. This might include repetitive activities like hammering, painting or typing. If you hold your wrist in the same position for long periods of time, such as when using a mouse at your desk all day, you can start to feel the symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome.

There are also a few medical conditions that make you more likely to experience carpal tunnel syndrome including diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, and obesity.

Additionally, women tend to develop this condition more often than men due to a more narrow carpal tunnel. 

What are the Signs and Symptoms of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome?

Carpal tunnel symptoms and signs usually start slowly and may begin in only one or a few fingers and happen at night. It will then start to happen while you’re doing things like holding the steering wheel or your phone. The most common symptoms are tingling in the fingers, hand, wrist, and or arm. Weakness of the hands or arms is also common.

Other symptoms can include: 

  • Burning sensation
  • Numbness
  • Pain
  • Feeling swollen
  • ‘Shock’ feelings

How Can a Chiropractor Help with Carpal Tunnel Syndrome?

A chiropractor is going to look for the cause of the problem. This means they’ll ask you a lot of questions about how you sit, what you do for a living, and how you use your hands on a regular basis. This can help them identify activities that you should avoid, or change how you do them, so that you can start to relieve the pressure on the median nerve.

Next, they’ll assess exactly where you have pain and make a recommendation for a treatment plan. This might include:

  • Spinal adjustment - Keeping the spine in alignment helps the entire body to realign so that your bones, muscles and nerves are able to get optimal blood flow and feel better. This can include the ligaments and bones leading to your hands.
  • Cold laser therapy - Inflammation is the reason the median nerve is compressing against the carpal tunnel. Cold laser is designed to help reduce inflammation. For about 10-15 minutes the cold laser is placed above your wrist, the light draws blood to the area to help it heal. A few sessions of this over a few weeks may be needed along with a change in your daily activities to prevent the inflammation from returning. 

How to Avoid Carpal Tunnel Syndrome 

Whether you’re trying to keep it from happening or if you’re trying to keep carpal tunnel syndrome from returning there are a few things you can try. Remember, catching it early can help you avoid invasive treatments like surgery.

Use less force

Try not to overuse muscles if it’s not needed. For instance, if your job requires repetitive pounding or vibration, try to take a break or find a way to do the job differently so your wrist can heal.

Stretch your hands 

There are certain stretches that can be done to help reduce weakness. One common stretch is to make a fist and open your fingers straight. Repeat this between 5-10 times. Similarly, you can spread out your fingers. When doing activities, try to keep your wrist straight to avoid excessive bending or flexing.

Change up your routine

This might be the most important thing you can do to keep carpal tunnel syndrome from returning. If you use a mouse all day and don’t take a break, or you type all day with your hands in the same position you’ll need to find a new position that allows you to work without pain. 

Try to incorporate stretches and exercises that can help lengthen the body and strengthen your posture. 

Getting Chiropractic Help for Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

Village Chiropractic located in the Woodlands, helps patients with carpal tunnel syndrome so that they can hopefully avoid surgery in the future. Remember, getting help early will improve your outcome. If you’re feeling hand or wrist pain, tingling or weakness,  schedule an appointment today to find out more about what our chiropractors can do to help you get back to your daily activities without pain.

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