Carpal Tunnel Syndrome Treatment: The Non-Invasive Chiropractic Approach
Carpal tunnel syndrome is not only frustrating for sufferers but it can be completely debilitating to one’s life. Carpal tunnel syndrome is a painful condition involving the hand and fingers, although this is the case many people suspect they’re suffering carpal tunnel problems when in fact they are suffering a similar problem that mimics carpal tunnel symptoms. Therefore it is important to be properly assessed by a Chiropractor or health care practitioner to accurately diagnose your problem. The major signs that you require carpal tunnel syndrome treatment is if you notice swelling of the wrist and hand, muscle weakness of the wrist and hand, numbness and tingling, symptoms are predominantly worse during the night, muscle wasting of the hand and fingers and elbow/neck/shoulder pain.
Anatomically, the carpal tunnel is a small passage in the front of the wrist. The passage is surrounded by wrist bones and ligaments. Travelling through the passage are various important structures including the Median nerve, tendons, blood vessels and veins. The median nerve is responsible for supplying muscles of the hand and fingers as well as sensation to the palm and fingers. Carpal tunnel syndrome is when compression of this passage takes place, therefore affecting the normal function of the median nerve.
COMMON CAUSES OF CARPAL TUNNEL SYNDROME
- Wrist trauma (fracture, FOOSH injury)
- Congenital carpal tunnel defects
- Overuse / Repetitive stress injuries
- Fluid retention disorders (renal failure, thyroid dysfunction)
Problems that may potentially mimic Carpal Tunnel Syndrome may include neck misalignment, cervical disc bulge/herniation/prolapse, shoulder and elbow injuries as well as cervical facet joint sprains.
CARPAL TUNNEL SYNDROME TREATMENT OPTIONS
While there are a variety of available treatment options, your management and length of treatment is largely dependent upon the severity and exact cause of your issue.
Chiropractors may use a range of treatment techniques that are best suited to your individual situation, some techniques that you may experience include:
- Spinal manipulation for carpal tunnel syndrome sufferers involves gently manipulating restricted joints to improve joint alignment and positioning and movement.
- Joint mobilisation is a gentle stretching-like therapy that some individuals prefer instead of spinal manipulation. Mobilisation involves stretching restricted spinal joints.
- Shoulder/Elbow/Wrist manipulation may be indicated if your Chiropractor finds restriction of your peripheral upper limb joints.
There’s a variety of wrist braces/supports available on the market which aim to enhance the size of the carpal tunnel and therefore reduce pressure upon important structures. As the condition has a tendency to be worse during the night, these braces are ideal to wear in bed or when symptoms are at their worst.
If all other options have been exhausted and you have not responded to treatment, surgical intervention may be clinically indicated. Of course clinical risks exist with any procedure so be sure to discuss these with your doctor beforehand.
CHIROPRACTIC & CTS RESEARCH
- Particular conservative treatment techniques may benefits individuals suffering mild to moderate carpal tunnel syndrome. Oskay, D (2010). Neurodynamic mobilization in the conservative treatment of cubital tunnel syndrome: Long-term follow up of 7 cases. Journal of Manipulative & Physiological Therapeutics, 33(2); 156-163
- Chiropractic care is an effective strategy for carpal tunnel syndrome treatment. Davis, P.T (1998). Comparative efficacy of conservative medical and Chiropractic treatments for carpal tunnel syndrome: A randomized clinical trial. Journal of Manipulative & Physiological Therapeutics, 21(5); 317-326
- Objective and subjective patient measures demonstrated clinically significant improving Chiropractic management for carpal tunnel syndrome treatment. Valente, R. (1994). Chiropractic manipulation in carpal tunnel syndrome. Journal of Manipulative & Physiological Therapeutics, 17(4); 246-249