How a Chiropractor Can Treat Your Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
Surgery isn't the only solution if you're suffering from carpal tunnel syndrome, pain, and weakness. Your chiropractor offers several treatments that will ease your symptoms and make it easier to live with the nerve disorder.
Carpal Tunnel Syndrome Causes and Symptoms
As many as four to 10 million people in the U.S. have carpal tunnel syndrome, according to the American College of Rheumatology. The disorder occurs when the median nerve that travels from your hand to your wrist becomes compressed. In order to reach your hand, the nerve must pass through a tight pathway, or tunnel, made up of soft tissues and small bones in the wrist.
Carpal tunnel syndrome symptoms can develop if the tunnel narrows due to injuries, arthritis, fluid retention, or inflammation. When the tunnel is too narrow, pressure on the nerve causes a variety of uncomfortable symptoms.
Nerve pressure may also increase if you participate in activities or work that requires repetitive hand motions, such as typing, knitting, or repairing cars. If you frequently use vibrating tools, your risk of developing carpal tunnel syndrome may increase. Women are more likely than men to develop carpal tunnel syndrome, as their carpal tunnels may be smaller.
Symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome may affect your hands and fingers and can travel up your arm. Common symptoms include:
- Pins-and-needles sensation
- Difficulty grasping or holding objects
How Chiropractic Treatment Can Improve Your Carpal Tunnel Syndrome Symptoms
Carpal tunnel syndrome symptoms may actually be caused by a neck issue in some cases. In one study, researchers discovered that women who had carpal tunnel syndrome were more likely to have a restricted range of motion in their necks. Restricted movement in the neck was a factor in minimal, mild, moderate, and severe carpal tunnel syndrome, according to the study published in the Journal of Orthopaedic & Sports Physical Therapy.
It may be difficult to move your neck easily if the vertebrae in your neck aren't properly aligned. Misaligned vertebrae can also press on nerves, which could trigger inflammation and swelling in and around the carpal tunnel.
Spinal manipulation, a common chiropractic treatment, improves alignment and may ease carpal tunnel syndrome symptoms. During the treatment, your chiropractor uses quick, hands-on thrusts to realign the vertebrae in your neck and back. Wrist and elbow adjustments may also help decrease pressure on the median nerve.
In a case series published in the Journal of Contemporary Chiropractic, researchers reported that combining spinal manipulation with wrist manipulation offered an effective treatment method for carpal tunnel syndrome symptoms.
Ultrasound therapy offers another way to treat your symptoms. Sound waves produced by a small, handheld device penetrate deep into your tissues during your treatment. The waves decrease inflammation, relax soft tissues, improve blood flow, and reduce pain.
Your doctor may recommend that you tape your wrists or wear wrist supports to improve the alignment of your wrist and decrease pressure on your median nerve. If you tend to sleep with your wrists bent at night, wearing wrist supports can help you break this habit.
Your treatment might include exercises that improve nerve movement and help strengthen your hands. Exercises can prevent your condition from worsening and relieve symptoms when they occur.
Massage therapy may be part of your chiropractic treatment plan. Massage treatments relax and lengthen muscles from your neck to your hand, reducing pressure on the median nerve. The therapy also eases inflammation and numbness and triggers the release of endorphins, your body's natural painkillers.
Have you been struggling with your carpal tunnel syndrome symptoms? Chiropractic care can help you improve your grip and ease pain, numbness, and weakness. Contact our office to schedule a convenient appointment with the chiropractor.
American College of Rheumatology: Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
Canadian Chiropractic Association: Carpal Tunnel Syndrome, 12/11/19
American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons: Therapeutic Exercises for Carpal Tunnel Syndrome, 10/18
Journal of Orthopaedic & Sports Physical Therapy: Women With Carpal Tunnel Syndrome Show Restricted Cervical Range of Motion, 5/11
Journal of Contemporary Chiropractic: Management of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome with Conservative Multimodal Therapy: A Prospective Case Series of Outcomes with Concurrent Wrist and Cervical Manipulation, 2019