Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
The carpal tunnel is the bridge of bones in your wrist through which the nerves and blood vessels to the hand pass through. The symptoms of carpal tunnel is typically tingling or ‘falling asleep’ of the fingers, typically the thumb and first two fingers. Wrist and hand pain may accompany carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS). When people have these symptoms they often jump to the carpal tunnel diagnosis, as do many doctors. There are however, several other causes of pain and tingling/numbness in the hand. Chiropractors are trained to test orthopedically to determine whether the cause is in the wrist (carpal tunnel), elbow, shoulder girdle (thoracic outlet), or neck. It is very common to have a combination of two of these problems develop before the patient feels it’s time to go see what’s wrong. Fortunately, chiropractic and physiotherapy techniques that chiropractors use are usually adequate to treat hand pain including carpal tunnel without surgery.
Many patients are unaware that surgery is not always necessary or recommended for carpal tunnel syndrome. The problem with surgery is that scar tissue that the body forms in response to the surgery often can lead to a worse case of CTS! That is why non surgical treatment is so important to try first. We use chiropractic adjustments to gently open up the bony bridge called the carpal tunnel. Sometimes this is enough in and of itself. We also use cold laser therapy for carpal tunnel syndrome to decrease swelling and stimulate healing of the nerves. Soft tissue therapy is also done on tight overworked muscles and fascia to relax and stretch out these tissues. Exercises can also be prescribed to help balance over- and under- utilized muscles. Patients who have already had carpal tunnel surgery can sometime be helped by these more conservative techniques also.