Carpal tunnel syndrome is a condition that affects millions of people throughout the world. It is commonly associated with repetitive motion activities such as typing, using a 10-key, or running a cash register among many other things. Not only does it cause intense pain due to pressure on the median nerve, but it can also result in joint dysfunction and diminished overall mobility of the wrists and hands. Carpal tunnel can be especially frustrating and inconvenient, however, given that it affects a person’s fine motor control. When this condition is at its worst, even the smallest of everyday tasks can become impossible. The good news is that chiropractic care may be able to resolve this problem in a safe, natural, and entirely non-surgical way. Chiropractors always treat this issue by first seeking out its underlying cause. There are many things that can place a person at risk of developing carpal tunnel. In addition to poorly performed, repetitive motion activities, other contributing factors include:
- Thyroid dysfunction
- Wrist fractures or other wrist trauma
- Fluid retention resulting from hormonal changes caused by pregnancy or menopause
Due to the many different possible causes of carpal tunnel, there is no one treatment plan that is guaranteed to work for every individual. While surgery is largely focused on eliminating pressure on the median nerve, it does not resolve any of the underlying problems that might actually be responsible for a person’s carpal tunnel. As such, many people who undergo surgery for this issue often see their symptoms return in full within just a matter of one to two years. When issues such as diabetes and hypertension lie at the heart of carpal, getting these chronic conditions under control via lifestyle changes and medication management can play a pivotal role in improving wrist functioning and movement, and in alleviating the associated pain. Chiropractic manipulations of the upper spine, elbows, wrists, and hands can be performed in instances in which undue pressure on the median nerve is the result of displaced or dysfunctional musculoskeletal structures.
How Manual Manipulation Can Help Alleviate Carpal Tunnel Pain
One of the primary factors that chiropractors review when performing initial consultations and assessments is the state of the patient’s spine. Whenever a chronic issue such as carpal tunnel exists, there is always the possibility that subluxations along this central supporting structure are causing specific muscles, muscle groups, ligaments, tendons, or joints to overwork. By restoring alignment through manual spinal adjustments or adjustments that are computer-assisted, a chiropractor may be able to alleviate wrist pain and dysfunction without ever actually manipulating or otherwise treating the wrists. In the instance of carpal tunnel, spinal adjustments are usually made at the upper spine. Here, controlled amounts of pressure can be gently applied to finesse displaced vertebrae back into their original positions. In some instances, manual adjustments can also be made directly at the wrist and in surrounding areas such as the hands and elbows.
Modest adjustments in these locations are performed with the intention of minimizing median nerve pressure in a gradual and natural way. When these treatments are performed, carpal tunnel sufferers often experience noticeable improvements after each chiropractic session. Wrist and elbow manipulations are most commonly performed among patients with a carpal tunnel that is the direct result of wrist fractures or other wrist injuries. It is not common for chiropractors to use spinal manipulation or other forms of musculoskeletal manipulation as a sole form of treatment. Instead, patients are often given multi-pronged plans that have been customized to their own circumstances and needs. Chiropractic care for carpal tunnel can include many different therapies such as:
- Acupuncture or acupressure
- Therapeutic massage
- Ultrasound therapy
- Inversion table therapy
Many of the available therapies for this issue are performed with the overarching goal of restoring balance and alignment to the entire body. Ultrasound therapy, however, provides immediate pain-relieving and inflammation-reducing benefits. Patients can also get rapid relief from inversion therapy given that this instantly alleviates pressure on the upper spine, and improves the overall efficacy of all manual or computer-assisted spinal adjustments. When combined, these and other therapies can both promote relief and expedite natural healing.
More importantly, when compared to invasive, surgical measures, multi-pronged chiropractic treatments often provide the best long-term outcomes. Whenever carpal tunnel is an issue, chiropractors can additionally recommend long-term strategies for preserving overall alignment, and for preventing future issues with nerve compression and joint dysfunction. Some people may be advised to wear wrist supports, particularly when engaging in repetitive motion activities such as typing. Others may receive recommendations to drop excess pounds, engage in special forms of strength-building exercise, or undergo a postural correction. If you suffer from the pain and inconvenience of carpal tunnel, we can help. Give us a call now at 205-637-1363.