If you have numbness, pain, or tingling in your hand or arm, you might have carpal tunnel syndrome. Thankfully, there are several things that a chiropractor can do to help treat carpal tunnel.
Carpal tunnel is a common syndrome that affects millions of adults in the United States. Many doctors help carpal tunnel patients using aggressive treatments, including surgery and steroid injections. However, many people worry about the complications and risks of these invasive procedures.
Before taking the invasive route, you may prefer to try a more conservative treatment that aims to alleviate carpal tunnel syndrome symptoms with less risk. This is where chiropractic care can be effective.
What Does It Mean to Have Carpal Tunnel Syndrome?
You develop carpal tunnel syndrome because the tissues in your wrist are compressing one of the biggest nerves in your hand. This is the median nerve.
The nerve starts in your neck and travels down your arm, passing through a narrow space in your wrist called the carpal tunnel. There are several places along the nerve path where pressure can occur. The pressure can begin in your spine or could happen in the carpal tunnel space.
If you have carpal tunnel syndrome, your hands will feel weak, numb, and tingly. You are likely to experience the symptoms with greater intensity on the side of your hand where your thumb is. Carpal tunnel pain can travel up your forearm and even affect your shoulders.
Some people describe carpal tunnel syndrome as an electrical jolt that affects their middle, ring, and index fingers and thumb. Carpal tunnel can make your hands so weak that you cannot hold onto objects or perform delicate movements, like writing or buttoning your shirt. Some people with carpal tunnel syndrome even drop things.
Unfortunately, carpal tunnel syndrome is not something that clears up on its own. Symptoms can worsen at night, especially if you sleep with your wrist bent. If you have to hold something for an extended time or write a long letter, you may feel the symptoms worsen.
What Happens If Carpal Tunnel Is Left Untreated?
If you don’t get treatment for your carpal tunnel, you can permanently damage your median nerve. This will leave you with chronic symptoms that could be debilitating. The earlier you get your carpal tunnel diagnosed and treated, the better your potential outcome will be.
If carpal tunnel syndrome severely damages your nerves, you may need a surgical correction. However, complications from surgery can include:
• Median nerve injury
• Sensitive scar tissue
• Damage to nearby blood vessels
For this reason, many people opt to seek chiropractic care to treat carpal tunnel syndrome, which minimizes the risks connected to surgery.
How Do Chiropractors Diagnose and Treat Carpal Tunnel Syndrome?
Chiropractors are specialists in identifying nerve entrapment syndromes. It can be difficult to pinpoint the exact cause of carpal tunnel, but chiropractors have a good track record of helping patients with this condition.
Your chiropractor will determine if the problem stems from your cervical spine or another location on nerve paths. They will focus on relieving pressure on the nerve. Part of their therapy could include gentle manipulation of your arm and wrist.
Your chiropractor may include noninvasive massage therapy. Massage therapy is an inexpensive treatment that can relieve long-term carpal tunnel symptoms. The therapy minimizes inflammation, numbness, and pain. It relaxes the carpal tunnel and lengthens the muscles and fascia in the neck, elbow, shoulder, wrist, hand, and forearm.
Ice treatments for carpal tunnel syndrome numb the pain and minimize inflammation. Using heat can increase inflammation, which puts excessive pressure on the median nerve.
What Does Recovery from Carpal Tunnel Syndrome Look Like?
It can take weeks or months for you to recover from carpal tunnel syndrome, especially if the condition has developed for some time. If the pressure has reached the point where it traps the median nerve, it can take even longer to recover.
Chiropractic care for carpal tunnel syndrome can improve the healing process and speed up recovery. It can minimize pressure on the median nerve in the cervical spine. Gentle manipulation of the wrist can relieve nerve pressure there.
If you are dealing with carpal tunnel syndrome, it can be debilitating. It’s understandable if you are worried about the risks associated with surgery or steroid treatments. Are you ready to find relief for your carpal tunnel syndrome from a noninvasive treatment? If so, our chiropractors are ready to help. Give us a call at 205-637-1363.