Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
Carpal Tunnel Syndrome affects millions of people globally every year. But what exactly is it? What are the symptoms? What are the causes? And most importantly is there treatment available?
What is Carpal Tunnel Syndrome?
Carpal Tunnel Syndrome revolves around the median nerve, a nerve that runs from the forearm to the palm of the hand. The median nerve controls sensations in the palm side of the thumb and fingers in addition to impulses in some small muscles in the hand used for movement. A narrow, rigid meridian of ligaments and bone located at the base of the hand is known as the carpal tunnel and houses the median nerve. The tendons and ligaments can sometimes become irritated and swell, causing the tunnel to be narrowed and compressing the median nerve. The result is often pain, weakness, and numbness in the hand and wrist and even up the arm.
Carpal Tunnel Symptoms
The symptoms can vary between infrequent and annoying to utterly crippling. Generally, they start gradually with burning, itching, and tingling in the palm of the hand and fingers. They can progress to a point where fingers feel swollen and “useless”. In chronic or untreated cases, the muscles at the base of the thumb may atrophy. Some victims of the syndrome cannot differentiate between hot and cold sensations. Carpal Tunnel Syndrome is often caused by a myriad of factors that increase the pressure on the median nerve. Congenital predisposition is the most common cause- the carpal tunnel is naturally smaller in some people than others. Common causes include trauma or injury to the wrist, overuse of the pituitary gland, work stress, and repeated use of vibrating hand tools. Additionally, a correlation is growing between carpal tunnel syndrome and thyroid conditions. Sometimes either an underactive or overactive thyroid can cause symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome.
Carpal Tunnel Syndrome Treatment
Effective treatment of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome is widely accessible! Surgery and medication have been proven to reduce or completely eradicate the syndrome but can be harmful to overall body health and sometimes may impose large amounts of down time. Acupuncture and chiropractic care provide a safe and time-friendly alternative to rehabilitating wrist and hand health. Acupuncture works to activate your body’s natural painkillers by inserting hair-thin needles at various targeted points of your body. An ancient Chinese practice of medicine, acupuncture is also thought to improve the energy distribution throughout the body’s various meridians. It has been used for centuries to optimize good health and reverse poor health, both acute and chronic. Symptoms of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome can also be effectively managed with conservative chiropractic treatment. Our in-house chiropractor often begins treatment with joint manipulation or mobilization, which helps the wrists to move freely. They may also offer soft tissue treatments, removing adhesions which may be imposing on the nerves, suggest exercises specifically designed to reduce muscle strain and improve strength, offer nutritional advice, or suggest alternatives to modify the work environment. Chiropractic care and acupuncture may provide the best long-term results and ensure that you keep your symptoms in check. Consult with your nearest physician or chiropractor and find out how you can live pain free!