What is Carpal Tunnel Syndrome?

ctsCarpal tunnel syndrome or CTS is caused by pressure on a nerve in the wrist specifically kindled by wrist injury, and excessive repetitive movements of the arms, wrists, and hands.  More often than not, CTS is common among assembly-line workers, mechanics, typist, and hairdressers and its prevalence may be associated more with occupation than gender.

How CTS occurs

The carpal tunnel is the small space surrounded by ligaments and bones in the wrist through which runs the median nerve and compression of the median nerve results to CTS.  In addition, the median nerve, which is present between the first three fingers and the thumb, controls the sensations as well as movement in the hand.  Therefore, when the median nerve is is squeezed or compressed, ot swells and causes pain in the hand and may also radiate up to the arm.  The swelling of the tendons leads to numbness and this condition is better known as the Carpal Tunnel Syndrome.

Detection of CTS

People with CTS may experience tingling, numbness and pain in the thumb, index, middle and ring finger.  Some individuals also report feelings like their hand is asleep and the symptoms appear at night causing them to wake up from their sleep.  This may be due to the sleeping positions which often flexed the wrists.  CTS symptoms include:

  • numbness, tingling, and pain in your thumb and first three fingers of your hand
  • pain and burning that travels up your arm
  • wrist pain at night that interferes with sleep
  • hard time performing easy movements like grasping small objects.

What Causes CTS

The swelling of the median nerve can be triggered by several factors, but in most cases it is not clear why CTS occurs.  However, minor changes in the structures going to the carpal tunnel can cause an increase in pressure in the tunnel and this can restrict the blood supply to the median nerve resulting to CTS symptoms.

Some studies also show that a person’s genes may play a part in the development of CTS.  Statistics show that 1 in 4 people with CTS have a close family member that also has the health condition.  Health conditions such as pregnancy, diabetes, obesity, hypothyroidism, menopause, side effects of medicines, and other rare diseases (e.g. cysts, growths swellings from the tendons or blood vessels passing through the carpal tunnel) are also associated with CTS.  Moreover, bone or arthritic conditions of the wrist (e.g. rheumatoid arthritis or wrist fractures) may lead to carpal tunnel syndrome.

Chiropractic Care for CTS

There is a wide range of treatments for carpal tunnel syndrome – wrist splint, steroid injection, surgery, chiropractic treatment, or not even treating the condition at all.  For mild symptoms, a non-surgical option may be advised.  Traditionally, a splint is recommended by medical doctors so as to keep the wrist in a neutral position during sleep.  On the hand, doctors of chiropractic offer a non-surgical and noninvasive relief such as wrist, arm, upper spine manipulation, wrist supports, and ultrasound therapy.

Treating CTS early with lifestyle changes and physical therapy not only eliminate symptoms but can also lead to significant long-term improvement.  Chiropractors offer the following chiropractic care to CTS patients:

  • checking your workstation and how well you do your daily tasks
  • modify the work environment to prevent over use
  • advise diet plan, wrist positions especially during sleep, helpful exercises, and information on how to prevent future carpal tunnel problems
  • soft tissue treatments which release muscle tension and remove adhesions which may be impinging on the nerves

Coping with the pain, numbness, and the inability to do some everyday tasks can be frustrating but you can prevent carpal tunnel syndrome.  Chiropractic care and lifestyle changes are a powerful combination in reducing your risk to developing it, as well as eliminating it.  While there are other treatments for CTS, a chiropractic approach ensures a nonsurgical treatment that can promise improvement in four to six weeks, improve fine motor control of your hands, and stabilize the muscles and joints in the hand, wrist, and harm.  Compare your options and ask your health practitioner about chiropractic treatment.

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