Symptoms of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome can be Effectively Managed with Chiropractic Treatment

Carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS) is a common problem involving the wrists and hands. Common symptoms include numbness, tingling and weakness in the thumb, index or middle finger.

It is usually found in people who perform repetitive motions with the hands such as typists, checkout staff, hairdressers and mechanics. CTS accounts for up to 50 percent of American workplace injuries and three per cent of American adults will suffer from CTS at some point in their life. CTS was originally thought to primarily affect women, but we now know CTS is more related to your occupation than your gender.

The carpal tunnel is a fibrous band of tissue found on the front side of the wrist in the same area as your watch strap. It holds many of the tendons, nerves and blood vessels that are required to operate your hand. CTS can occur if the carpal tunnel is damaged and pressure is placed on the vulnerable nerves and arteries. Usually CTS begins slowly over weeks to months, with symptoms worsening over time. CTS may include pain in the hand or wrist that occurs mostly at night, weakness or clumsiness of the hand, and muscle loss in the palm of the hand.

Misdiagnosis of CTS may occur because the sensitive nerves and arteries that pass through the carpal tunnel can be affected elsewhere, resulting in similar symptoms. For example tight neck or arm muscles can irritate the nerves passing through them leaving the person with symptoms that do not go away with treatment of the carpal tunnel. Carpal tunnel syndrome may be aggravated by diseases such as diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis or thyroid problems, but CTS is usually due to repetitive strain injuries.

Repetitive strain injuries result from continuous movements, of the same type, for an extended length of time. For example, anyone working at a computer all day is at a higher risk due to the continual strain placed on the muscles of the shoulders, forearms, wrists and hands. Repetitive strain injuries can often be prevented with proper workplace ergonomics and by taking frequent breaks to stretch and change position. Your chiropractor can advise you what the best stretches are to prevent repetitive strain injures from your profession.

Traditionally CTS has been managed by medical doctors through administration of anti-inflammatory drugs such as Ibuprofen or Advil, splinting, corticosteroid injections and finally surgery. Doctors of chiropractic offer a conservative approach beginning with joint manipulation or mobilization, which helps the joints in the wrists to move freely. Other treatment options offered by chiropractors include soft tissue treatments which release muscle tension and remove adhesions which may be impinging on the nerves, exercises specifically designed to minimize muscle strain and improve small muscle strength, nutritional advice, and suggestions on modifying the work environment to prevent over use.

See the chiropractors at Kamloops Active Health for a comprehensive treatment plan to your condition.

NOTE: This article is for general information purposes only, and is NOT intended to replace the examination and advice of a registered health care provider.