Although carpal tunnel syndrome was once thought to be an older person’s problem, today, it also affects younger workers. Therefore, it is important to be aware of carpal tunnel syndrome and how it can affect you.
According to the American College of Rheumatology, about 4-10 million Americans are diagnosed with carpal tunnel syndrome. It is caused by repetitive stress injuries on the wrist and hands during typing and driving for extended periods. Symptoms occur when the ligament becomes swollen or compressed, causing swelling or pressure on the nerve. If left untreated, it can result in pain, numbness, tingling, and weakness in the hand, wrist, and forearm muscles.
Luckily, our Sunrise carpal tunnel syndrome treatment can restore mobility and function to the affected area. Our chiropractors and physiotherapists can show you how to perform exercises and stretches to prevent the situation from getting out of hand.
Call us today to schedule an appointment with Specific Care Chiropractic.
What Is the Cause of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome?
The carpal tunnel contains nine tendons, which connect muscles in your forearm to bones in your fingers. As you move your fingers, these tendons glide over the bony pulleys inside the carpal tunnel. The tendons and the bony pulleys can be irritated by swelling due to injury or repetitive motions.
The swelling makes it difficult for the tendons to glide smoothly over the pulleys, and they may swell up too much to fit through the narrow passageway. This causes pressure on nerve endings responsible for sensation in your thumb, index finger, and middle finger (the median nerve). This pressure can result from swelling due to fluid retention, arthritis, fractures, rheumatoid arthritis, and other inflammatory conditions.
The cause of carpal tunnel syndrome is often related to repetitive strain from work tasks involving fine motor movements of the hand and wrist. Carpal tunnel syndrome may also be associated with pregnancy and osteoarthritis in women, though the severity of pregnancy-related CTS usually resolves a few weeks after childbirth.
The cause of the pressure in the median nerve may be related to:
Joint or Bone Disease
Conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis, gout, or osteoarthritis can cause inflammation and swelling around the wrist. This puts pressure on the median nerve as it passes through the carpal tunnel into the hand.
Hormonal or Metabolic Changes
Hormonal changes during pregnancy may increase your risk of developing carpal tunnel syndrome. Other hormonal changes that can raise your risk include thyroid problems and menopause, among others.
Changes in Blood Sugar Levels
High blood sugar levels from uncontrolled diabetes mellitus put extra stress on nerves in your hands and feet, including those in your wrists that control feeling and movement.
Strains and Sprains
Overusing certain muscles — especially those at work throughout the day — can lead to muscle strains that cause swelling and compression of nerves in your wrist (carpal tunnel syndrome).
Diagnosis and Symptoms
The diagnosis of carpal tunnel syndrome usually relies on symptoms. A physical examination will assess whether you have any tenderness or swelling around your wrist area and check for any abnormalities with sensation or movement in your hand(s).
Your doctor may also ask about other symptoms usually associated with CTS. The symptoms of CTS typically develop gradually over time and may come and go. They may improve significantly with rest. The symptoms to watch out for include:
- Numbness and tingling in the fingers
- Pain in the wrist that radiates up to the arm
- “Pins and needles” feeling in the fingers
- Pain or numbness that gets worse at night
- Weakness when gripping objects
- Swollen feeling in the fingers
An x-ray may show that the bones in your wrist are inflamed and swollen, and there may be fluid in the space around them (known as ‘effusion’). In addition, an ultrasound can help determine whether the nerve is being compressed. An MRI scan can also be used to give more detail about how much damage there is to tissues in your hand and wrist.
What Is the Treatment for Carpal Tunnel Syndrome?
The goals of carpal tunnel treatment are to relieve symptoms and prevent further problems with movement or sensation. Treatment may include:
Chiropractors are trained in both manual therapy and manipulation techniques, which can help relieve Carpal Tunnel Syndrome symptoms more quickly than other therapies. Some chiropractic adjustments that may help relieve Carpal Tunnel Syndrome include:
This type of adjustment will help loosen up your joints and muscles so they are more flexible and less likely to get injured again. Manual extremity maninuplation is often used for patients with Carpal Tunnel Syndrome because it helps reduce inflammation and pain in the affected area. It also strengthens muscles around joints so they aren’t as easily strained again by overuse or poor posture habits.
This instrument helps improve nerve function by stimulating blood flow to the affected area through gentle pressure on nerves just below where they exit at each vertebra (wrist bone). It can be used as soon as symptoms appear, but should not be used if there is any numbness or tingling.
Physiotherapy helps relieve pain and restore function in people with carpal tunnel syndrome. Your doctor may recommend:
- Corrective care: Such as splinting. Splints help keep the wrist straight and steady while you sleep or rest.
- Massage therapy: May include trigger point therapy and release therapy to relax muscles and reduce stress on tendons and joints.
- Rehabilitative therapy: Includes exercises and stretches that strengthen your hands, wrists, and arms and improve your shoulders and neck range of motion.
- Stretching and strengthening: Includes exercises for your wrists to help prevent future problems with your hands.
Risk Factors for Developing Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
People with jobs requiring repetitive hand movements, such as assembly line workers, are at risk of developing carpal tunnel syndrome. Also, pregnant women are more likely to develop carpal tunnel syndrome because of the extra fluid volume in their bodies.
Other risk factors include:
- A family history of carpal tunnel syndrome
- Medical conditions that affect circulation (diabetes, arthritis, thyroid gland hormone imbalance, etc.) – cause changes in fluid balance and swelling of the tissues around the wrist, which puts stress on the median nerve.
- Wrist fracture/deformity
- Age (it’s more common in people ages 30 – 40)
Get the Best Carpal Tunnel Syndrome Treatment in Sunrise
If you are suffering from Carpal Tunnel Syndrome and are looking for effective treatment options do not hesitate to call us at (239) 369-9109, our chiropractors can help. Our doctors at Specific Care Chiropractic will determine the cause of the problem and then recommend a course of action that will address the underlying issue, provide relief from symptoms, and prevent future problems.
Contact us today to schedule an appointment with a chiropractor in Sunrise and learn how we can help relieve your pain and improve your health!