by Dr. Corey
Carpal Tunnel Syndrome (CTS) is one of the most common forms of work-related wrist injuries. CTS is typically due to a repetitive movement like typing all day long or turning a screwdriver for hours on end putting together a project. An inflammatory reaction happens due to the overuse and causes a constriction of the carpal tunnel. This constriction then causes compression of the contents of the carpal tunnel: the tendons and median nerve. When they become compressed we develop symptoms such as numbness, tingling and even weakness in the hand, thumb, index finger, middle finger, and thumb side of our ring finger.
Here are 3 common causes of CTS:
- CTS is sometimes hereditary. Anatomically, some people may have a smaller carpal tunnel than others. This changes the amount of space the median nerve and tendons have to travel through.
- Repetitive use over long periods of time can cause the tendons to become inflamed. When they swell due to the irritation they can cause added pressure on the median nerve.
- Hormonal changes, such as those that happen during pregnancy, can cause swelling in the hands and wrist that produce symptoms.
When it comes to the treatment of carpal tunnel, a variety of options are available. Here are 4 reasons chiropractic is a great option for treatment:
- Several studies have shown that chiropractic care and other conservative treatments, like physical therapy and nutrition, have reduced the symptoms caused by CTS. In these studies patients showed a decrease in pain, numbness, and tingling. They also saw an increase in their range of motion.
- Chiropractic is more affordable and less invasive than other procedures used to treat CTS. In some cases carpal tunnel syndrome is misdiagnosed and surgery is the last resort for a patient. Chiropractic can minimize this as a last option and help decrease symptoms. Regular adjustments to the wrist and surrounding areas that may be causing the issue help reduce the symptoms. Acupuncture is another great option that can be used to treat CTS. Kinesio taping works well by supporting the wrist so that we have better function when the area is stressed.
- Chiropractic is a drug free alternative. First visits to other practitioners may result in a prescription of pain medication. This is only going to mask the pain, not fix the issue at hand. Chiropractic adjustments provide relief to joints that become irritated due to overuse and fatigue. They also help our brain talk to the rest of our body better without interference.
- Learning how to manage this condition is key in decreasing your symptoms. Becoming aware for example of what may be causing the symptoms is the first step. Complicating factors, such as typing posture that places stress on the carpal tunnel if not done correctly, or working from home on a laptop computer instead of the desktop you’re used to, could be causing CTS. How your hands are positioned when you sleep can make a difference, too. I tend to curl the blanket up under my chin, with my wrists tucked. Having your wrists in a position like that for hours on end can cause irritation. Wearing a brace at night is also a good option - using a cock-up splint allows the content of the carpal tunnel to relax.
Help us help you! If you find yourself developing any carpal tunnel symptoms give us a call or send us a picture of your workstation set up. We will take care of you!