Carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS) is an often misunderstood condition which is characterized by symptoms in the hand such as pain and numbness. It can be very disabling, preventing many from being able to work. It is the most common nerve problem which affects the hands and can happen to anyone. To deal with this condition, many resort to invasive procedures such as surgery or injections which can have harmful side effects. Few realize that chiropractic is an excellent treatment option for carpal tunnel syndrome and often corrects the cause of the problem.
In order to understand how chiropractic can help with carpal tunnel syndrome it is important to know what the carpal tunnel is and the structures around it. The carpal tunnel is a small tunnel located inside the wrist. The top of the tunnel is formed by the alignment of the carpal (wrist) bones and the bottom is formed by the transverse ligament. There are nine tendons along with the median nerve which pass through the carpal tunnel. The symptoms of CTS are caused from the median nerve being irritated. The nerve can become inflamed and swollen causing pressure within the carpal tunnel.
The median nerve originates in the neck and travels under the collar bone, then passes down the arm. Finally, it passes through the carpal tunnel and to the hand muscles. The median nerve controls motor and sensory function to part of the hand. Pressure on the median nerve results in a disruption of signals from the brain to the hand which are relayed through the median nerve. If correction is not made to the median nerve, permanent problems can result. These can include partial or complete loss of movement, strength and sensation of the hand.
There are specific warning signs to pay attention to associated with CTS. These might include numbness or decreased hand strength, tingling, neck tightness, swollen hands, awkward hands and decreased sensation. Because the median nerve begins in the neck, pressure or irritation of the nerve anywhere along its pathway can cause similar symptoms. Some of these causes might be misaligned bones in the neck, neck muscle tightness, shoulder problems, and cervical (neck) ribs. Inflamed tendons in the hand and misaligned carpal (wrist) bones are also common causes of CTS. All of these problems can cause the symptoms often found with the disease.
It is also possible for the median nerve to become irritated in both the neck and the wrist. This is called “double crush syndrome.” The symptoms associated with this are often the same as carpal tunnel syndrome. This is a common reason for failure of wrist only surgeries for the treatment of CTS.
Several different things can cause carpal tunnel syndrome. It is most often caused by problems with posture or poor ergonomics, especially sitting at the desk or computer. Repetitive hand movements over time, falls or slips, improper hand positions from sports or hobbies can also cause it. It is also sometimes congenital or from birth. Diets high in salt, systemic diseased like diabetes, birth control pills, pregnancy and diets high in salt can also contribute to CTS.
Incorrect posture while sitting at the computer can contribute to the cause of carpal tunnel syndrome. There is a tendency to sit with the shoulders rolled forward and the head thrust forward. This can cause misaligned bones in the neck, resulting in irritation of the nerves that form the median nerve. This can cause referred pain, numbness or tingling in the hand. Maintaining good posture while sitting can help to the problem. This should include sitting upright with the shoulders relaxed and the head upright over the shoulders. The wrists should be in a neutral position and you should avoid continuously flexing or extending the wrists. The computer screen should be set at eye level and straight ahead to avoid continuously turning the neck.
Chiropractic is a great option to help with carpal tunnel syndrome. Chiropractors perform specific chiropractic adjustments to correct misaligned bones commonly associated with CTS. This might be done in the neck or wrist depending on where the cause of the problem is. Chiropractors are trained to deal with problems with the nervous system or musculoskeletal system which are commonly associated with CTS. They will often take an x-ray to determine the extent of the problem. After this, they will recommend a treatment program which may include chiropractic adjustments and therapy. The adjustments work to correct misaligned bones and the therapy works to help injured soft tissue such as tendons, ligaments and muscle. Research shows chiropractic to be as effective as medical treatment for CTS. Chiropractic is an excellent alternative because it is natural and safe.
To discover more about carpal tunnel syndrome and other health problems, visit Dr. Leavitt’s website at chiropractor knoxville. To see patient testimonials and find directions to his clinic, go here: chiropractor knoxville