How Can an Atlanta Chiropractor Help Treat Carpal Tunnel Syndrome?
Many have people never heard of carpal tunnel syndrome, let alone know what it is. In this day and age, with more people than ever working at computers, it's becoming more common. Here's a little information on carpal tunnel syndrome and how an Atlanta chiropractor can help relieve the pain.
What is a Carpal Tunnel Syndrome?
Carpal Tunnel Syndrome is a condition that causes pain, weakness, and numbness in the hand and wrist. The cause of this condition is pressure on the median nerve, which runs through the carpal tunnel in the wrist. The condition is caused by compression of the median nerve, which runs through the carpal tunnel a narrow, bony passageway from the wrist to the hand.
Carpal tunnel syndrome can cause significant pain and disability. However, with proper treatment, most people are able to regain full function of their hands and arm.
Symptoms of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
- Numbness, tingling, or pain in the hand or arm and tingling in the thumb and index finger. As the condition progresses, the symptoms may spread to the middle finger. In severe cases, all fingers except the little finger may be affected.
- Weakness in the hand or arm. People with carpal tunnel syndrome may have difficulty making a fist, gripping an object, or performing other manual tasks.
- Increased pain at night. People with carpal tunnel syndrome often wake up at night because of the pain.
- Difficulty gripping or holding objects. People with carpal tunnel syndrome may drop things more often than usual.
- Increased sensitivity to touch. People with carpal tunnel syndrome may feel pain or tingling when they brush their hair or touch a doorknob.
- Difficulty performing fine motor tasks such as buttoning a shirt or tying shoelaces. Also, people with carpal tunnel syndrome may have trouble opening jars or holding a pencil.
The symptoms may come and go, and they may be worse at night. In severe cases, the condition can cause weakness in the hand and loss of grip strength.
Causes of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
- Carpal tunnel syndrome is caused by compression of the median nerve. The median nerve is a nerve that runs from the forearm to the hand. It provides sensation to the thumb and fingers (except the little finger). It also provides motor function to the muscles at the base of the thumb.
- The carpal tunnel is a narrow passageway in the wrist that is formed by bones and ligaments. The median nerve—which innervates the thumb, index finger, middle finger, and half of the ring finger—runs through the carpal tunnel to the hand. The median nerve provides sensation to the palm side of the hand.
- The carpal tunnel is normally a tight space, and any swelling or inflammation can cause the median nerve to be compressed. This can happen if the wrist is injured or if there is inflammation from conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis or diabetes. Repetitive motions of the hand and wrist—such as typing or using a mouse—can also lead to carpal tunnel syndrome.
- The median nerve is surrounded by bones and ligaments. These structures form a tunnel—known as the carpal tunnel—through which the nerve passes from the forearm into the hand. The carpal tunnel is a narrow passageway, and any swelling or inflammation can compress the median nerve and cause carpal tunnel syndrome.
- Carpal tunnel syndrome can cause a range of symptoms, from mild to severe. The most common symptom is numbness or tingling in the hand or arm. This is usually worse at night and may wake you up from sleep. As the condition progresses, the symptoms may spread to the middle finger. In severe cases, all fingers except the little finger may be affected.
How Can a Chiropractor Help Treat Carpal Tunnel Syndrome?
If you have carpal tunnel syndrome, chiropractic care can help relieve your symptoms and improve your quality of life. Chiropractic care is a safe, effective treatment for carpal tunnel syndrome.
- Reducing the pressure on the median nerve. Chiropractic adjustments can help reduce the pressure on the median nerve by aligning the bones in the wrist and hand.
- Splinting. Wearing a splint at night can help hold the wrist in a neutral position and relieve pressure on the median nerve.
- Medications. Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) such as ibuprofen and naproxen can help reduce pain and inflammation. In some cases, corticosteroid injections may be recommended to relieve symptoms.
- Surgery. If conservative treatments do not relieve symptoms, surgery may be necessary to release the pressure on the median nerve.
- Adjustments. Adjustments to the wrist, elbow, and shoulder can help reduce pressure on the median nerve and relieve symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome.
- Exercises. Specific exercises can help stretch and strengthen the muscles and tendons in the hand and forearm. These exercises can help reduce pressure on the median nerve and improve the range of motion.
- Lifestyle changes. Making lifestyle changes such as ergonomic improvements, rest, and ice can help reduce the symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome.
These treatments can help reduce pressure on the median nerve and relieve symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome.
Risk Factors for Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
There are several factors that can increase your risk for developing carpal tunnel syndrome, including:
- Gender. Women are more likely than men to develop carpal tunnel syndrome.
- Age. The risk for carpal tunnel syndrome increases with age.
- Pregnancy. Carpal tunnel syndrome is common during pregnancy, especially in the third trimester. It is often temporary and resolves after delivery.
- Medical conditions. Conditions such as diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, and thyroid problems can increase the risk for carpal tunnel syndrome.
- Injury or trauma. A wrist fracture or dislocation can lead to carpal tunnel syndrome.
- Repetitive motions. Jobs or activities that involve repetitive motions of the hand and wrist such as typing, using a mouse, or assembly work can put you at risk for carpal tunnel syndrome.
- Family history. If carpal tunnel syndrome runs in your family, you may be more likely to develop the condition.
- Anatomical abnormalities. People with small carpal tunnels or those who have bones that are misshapen or misaligned (such as in rheumatoid arthritis) are at increased risk for developing carpal tunnel syndrome.
- Medical conditions. Conditions that cause swelling, such as diabetes or rheumatoid arthritis, can increase pressure on the median nerve and lead to carpal tunnel syndrome. Pregnancy is another condition that can lead to carpal tunnel syndrome. The added weight of the baby increases pressure on the median nerve.
- Obesity. People who are obese are more likely to develop carpal tunnel syndrome than people of healthy weight.
Carpal tunnel syndrome is diagnosed through a combination of physical examination and medical history. Your doctor will ask you about your symptoms and how they have changed over time. They will also ask you about any medical conditions you have and any medications you are taking. A physical examination will be performed to assess the condition of your hands and arms. In some cases, nerve conduction studies may be ordered to confirm the diagnosis.
Do you suffer from carpal tunnel syndrome? Have you found relief with any treatments?
If you're looking for a chiropractic clinic that can help you relieve your carpal tunnel symptoms, look no further than Arrowhead Clinic Chiropractic. They are an Atlanta area chiropractor that specializes in treating carpal tunnel and other conditions of the hand, wrist, and arm. Request an appointment today to see how they can help you find relief from your carpal tunnel symptoms.
Their team of chiropractors is experienced in treating carpal tunnel syndrome and can create a treatment plan that's tailored to your needs. Contact them today to schedule an appointment.