Carpal Tunnel Syndrome (CTS)
Symptoms of CTS
Most often symptoms develop slowly and worsen. They may include:
- Tingling and/or numbness
- Pain or burning in the hand
- Weakness or loss of grip strength
- Difficulty sleeping due to pain
Causes of CTS
Carpal tunnel syndrome is thought to be caused by strain from repetitive use of the hand or awkward movements or positioning of the hands. Vibrating tools may also increase the likelihood of developing CTS. In some cases injury to the hand or wrist can cause slight misalignment of the wrist bones which impinges ion the nerves traveling into the hands. Most commonly those who spend a lot of time typing or doing repetitive assembly work are affected.
Medical Treatment of CTS
The use of a brace or cock-up splint to place the wrist in a neutral position will sometimes reduce symptoms especially during sleep. Anti-inflammatory medications including ibuprofen and aspirin are often recommended to help control swelling. Cortisone injections into the carpal tunnel may also give relief temporarily. As with any medication, there are side effects and they do nothing to correct the source of the problem. Surgery is often recommended if medications prove ineffective. Surgery has been shown to be helpful in many cases. However, surgery sometimes has to be repeated, and any surgery may lead to weakening and scarring of the transverse ligament. This can further irritate the median nerve.
How Chiropractic can help
New research on treatment of CTS reveals that some cases respond favorably to a non-surgical approach developed by Chiropractic doctors. This approach includes:
- Adjustments (manipulations) either manually or mechanically to realign the wrist bones
- Selected physical therapies which may include electric muscle stimulation, trigger point therapy, laser therapy and specific stretches
These treatments help to reduce pressure on the median nerve and permit the wrist to heal naturally. Many patients will experience significant symptom reduction doing chiropractic care and avoid invasive procedures such as injections or surgery.
Don’t delay seeing a doctor of chiropractic for your CTS. Don’t ignore symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome. Get it evaluated and treated in the early stages. Small problems stay small if addressed. Resolution before permanent damage is done is much more likely if treated in the early stages