Chiropractic Care of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
Carpal Tunnel Syndrome can be a painful symptom shown in thousands of Americans everyday. Carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS) can affect just about everyone, but particularly people involved in occupations requiring repetitive use of the hands and wrists (i.e., office and skilled labor jobs) (Burris 2003). Medical doctors commonly prescribe anti-inflammatory drugs, which prove ineffective in some patients and cause adverse side effects in others.
The causes of carpal tunnel syndrome include
fluid retention, compression, or repetitive irritation of the median nerve that passes between tendons and under ligaments on the palm side of the wrist. This can result in pain, numbness, and weakness in the part of the hand supplied by the median nerve, most often the thumb and the first two fingers. The pain may be more severe at night.
A wrist splint worn during the night to keep the wrist in a neutral position might help prevent irritation of the median nerve. Occasionally, however, a wrist splint will aggravate the problem. Physical therapy, such as ultrasound or a cold pack, may also help.
Dr. Susan MacKinnon professor of surgery at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis in a study of 64 patients with repetitive stress disorders of whom 34 had wrist surgery it was discovered that wrist pain or discomfort was not the only symptom the patients complained of. Most patients had multiple problems, especially muscle imbalance. The high failure rate of surgery has caused her to rethink the cause of CTS: “Unnatural postures for extended periods creating pressure on the nerves in the neck, leading to neurological and other symptoms…even when extremity surgery improves the peripheral symptoms such as numbness in the hands, other associated problems like neck stiffness and shoulder pain persist,” her article states. (MccKinnon 1994).
Chiropractic research has shown that conservative treatment can help patients with carpal tunnel syndrome.
Sufferers that undergo spinal manipulation and extremity adjusting, in conjunction with soft tissue manipulation, dietary modifications and daily exercises showed improvement in all strength and range of motion measures (Mally 2004).
By Troy Davis D.C.,F.I.A.M.A.