What is Carpal Tunnel Syndrome?
Carpal tunnel syndrome is a condition in your hand and arm that causes pain, numbness, and tingling. When the median nerve is squeezed or compressed, this causes carpal tunnel syndrome.
Gender: Women are three times more likely to be affected by carpal tunnel than men, along with older people.
Job: Jobs that require you to repeat the same motion of your arm, such as an assembly line worker, sewer, baker, cashier, hair stylist, and musicians.
Pregnancy: Carpal Tunnel happens in pregnancy when there is a build-up of fluid in the tissues in your wrist. This can be caused if you are overweight prior to your pregnancy, or if you gain too much weight during your pregnancy. After the baby’s birth, your carpal tunnel should wear off.
Chronic Illnesses: Diseases such as diabetes and rheumatoid arthritis can cause carpal tunnel syndrome.
Signs of Carpal Tunnel
Symptoms start gradually. The first signs of carpal tunnel are numbness or tingling in your hands in your index, thumb, and middle gingers. These symptoms may come or go. This numbness may feel like an electric shock in your fingers, which may travel from your fingers up to your wrist and up your arm. Sometimes these electric shock sensations can even wake you up from your sleep.
Also, carpal tunnel syndrome can also cause weakness in your hand. This may cause you to start dropping objects, due to the numbness in your hand.
If you notice any of these symptoms, it’s best to see your doctor right away. If you don’t seek out help, this may cause permanent nerve damage, along with permanent muscle damage.
Diagnosing Carpal Tunnel
There are many ways doctors can diagnose carpal tunnel syndrome. First, your doctor will evaluate the pattern of your symptoms. They will also want to conduct a physical examination of the feeling in your fingers, along with the strength of the muscles in your hands. They can test this by bending your wrist, tapping on your nerve, or by pressing on the nerve to trigger symptoms.
If your doctor believes you have carpal tunnel syndrome based off of your symptoms and their physical examination, they may recommend an x-ray to exclude any other conditions, such as arthritis or a fracture. Another test doctors can use is an electromyogram. This test can measure the tiny electrical discharges that are produced in the muscles by inserting thin needle electrodes in specific muscles. This is used to evaluate your electrical activity when muscles contract and rest.
The last study doctors can use is a variation of electromyography, in which two electrodes are taped to your skin. By doing so, this sends a small shock through your nerve to see if the impulses are slowed.
Wrist Braces/Splinting: Doctors suggest that using a brace or a split is helpful, especially when sleeping because you tend to bend your wrist while you’re sleeping.
NSAIDs: Ibuprofen, Advil, Motrin, etc. can help relieve the pain associated with carpal tunnel.
Cortisteroids: You may have cortisteroids injected into your carpal tunnel by a doctor, which will decrease the inflammation and swelling.
Endoscopic: This is a type of surgery that involves using a device with a camera attached to it to see inside your carpal tunnel. The surgeon will then cut the ligament through one or two small incisions in your hand or wrist.
Open Surgery: In this type of surgery, the incision will be made in the palm of your hand. Your surgeon will then cut through the ligament to free the nerve.
How Chiropractic Care Helps Carpal Tunnel
Surgery seems to be the best option, but in 75% of surgeries symptoms return within two years. Chiropractic care is a natural, surgery free way to treat carpal tunnel syndrome. Chiropractors can help by addressing the issues in the wrist, elbow, and upper spine. The median nerve connects to the spinal cord through the openings in the bones around the lower neck. When these bones lose their position, this can cause carpal tunnel.
What you can expect at a chiropractic treatment for carpal tunnel is the chiropractor will begin by evaluating your arms, hands, neck, and shoulders. Then your chiropractor will perform a spinal manipulation, review daily routines, and look at your medical history. Chiropractors will use joint manipulation and mobilization of the wrist and hand, along with stretching and strengthening exercises. Soft tissue mobilization techniques, hot and cold therapy, ultrasound, and electrical stimulation also are used.
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