What is Carpal Tunnel Syndrome?
Understand what is happening
To know what carpal tunnel syndrome is, an understanding of the nerve involved is needed. The median nerve runs from the cervical spine in the neck, down the arm, and through the wrist. This is the nerve that gives feeling to the thumb, index, middle, and ring finger. The wrist has a narrow opening called the carpal tunnel. This is where a majority of the problems occur and is where the name Carpal Tunnel Syndrome, or CTS, stems from.
What Causes Carpal Tunnel Syndrome?
Learn how it can be caused
The most common cause of carpal tunnel syndrome is inflammation around the carpal tunnel. This can be caused by repetitive movements over time. Repetitive motions can be work-related; such as typing, holding a phone for long periods of time or some forms of physical labor. An injury to the wrist or neck can also cause a person to develop symptoms of carpal tunnel.
What Are the Symptoms of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome?
Identify the symptoms
The first symptom that usually occurs is numbness and tingling in the thumb and fingers. An indication that it is carpal tunnel syndrome and not something else is if there is feeling in the little finger. The median nerve doesn’t supply sensation to the little finger. So if all other fingers are numb except the little finger, then it is likely carpal tunnel syndrome. A person with CTS might also experience a shooting pain that travels down the arm. If left untreated, CTS can affect the way the handgrips items and can cause a person to drop things without control.
How Can A Chiropractor Help?
Help you relieve pain and get back to work
A chiropractor will talk to a patient to get their history and listen to their symptoms in an effort to determine the underlying cause of carpal tunnel syndrome and make a plan of action. If the problem stems from the neck area, then an alignment of the spine could be helpful. Gentle manipulation of the wrist can help if the carpal tunnel is the problem. Different exercises and braces can be used as tools to alleviate symptoms. There are a variety of non-invasive methods that can be used by a chiropractor to treat CTS. Schedule an appointment today to discuss your options.
Still, want to learn more?
Check Out the Frequently Asked Questions About Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
What Happens If My Carpal Tunnel Syndrome Progresses?
First, let’s note that not all Carpal Tunnel Syndrome cases get worse. Some cases are just temporary conditions that can resolve themselves completely. Other cases will continue to progress, and patients may start to develop a burning sensation, weakness, or cramping of the hand. This pain can also be felt as a sharp, shooting pain in the forearms. They may experience a loss of strength in their grip and start to drop things more frequently. If these symptoms continue to go untreated, the muscles in your hand, especially the muscles in your palm of your hand, might start to atrophy or waste away.
Is Surgery the Best Option to Treat Carpal Tunnel Syndrome?
No, surgery is only recommended for severe cases of Carpal Tunnel syndrome. Most cases are mild and can be handled with the help of a chiropractor or at home.
I Do a Lot of Typing for Work; Does That Put Me at Greater Risk for Carpal Tunnel Syndrome?
No, although many people believe that typing is associated with Carpal Tunnel Syndrome, recent studies have shown that assembly line workers are three times more likely to develop Carpal Tunnel Syndrome than data entry workers. They also associated a link between vibrating hand tools and Carpal Tunnel Syndrome.
How Do I Know If I Have Carpal Tunnel Syndrome?
Carpal tunnel syndrome is becoming widespread as it’s typically caused by repetitive motions, such as typing or playing video games, and can cause varying symptoms. You may often notice that your fingers or hands start to experience tingling, pain, or numbness, especially during repetitive tasks. This tingling, pain, or numbness may occur occasionally and then get to a point where you constantly feel that way. You may also experience this sensation up into your wrist and beyond. You may find yourself shaking your hands to try to relieve the feelings in your fingers and hands.
In addition, another symptom of carpal tunnel syndrome is weakness in your hand or hands. You may notice that you don’t have the exact grip strength as you did before or occasionally get clumsy to the point where you drop things you wouldn’t have previously. When these symptoms have started to interfere with your daily life, it’s time to speak with one of the trained chiropractors at LifeGiving Chiropractic. The only way to know for sure if you have carpal tunnel syndrome is to be diagnosed by a medical professional after a physical examination, imaging, and any other tests they may want to have done.
How Can I Relieve Carpal Tunnel Pain?
There are several home remedies that you can try to help relieve carpal tunnel pain. Take frequent breaks when making repetitive motions with your hands to help with your pain levels. Avoid any activities that you can that aggravate your pain levels. Over-the-counter pain relievers, such as naproxen and ibuprofen, can offer some relief from carpal tunnel pain. Wearing wrist splints when doing repetitive activities that aggravate the feelings in your wrist, hands, and fingers can also help. Ice can also be effective when you put it on for 10 to 15 minutes every hour or half-hour, depending on your pain levels.
Some individuals may find that warm water baths can have a relaxing effect on their carpal tunnel pain. Submersing your hand and wrist in hot water several times a day while gently flexing your hand can also be helpful. Be sure that the water doesn’t exceed 100 degrees Fahrenheit. Look for a temperature that’s comfortable for you. You may also find that gently shaking your hands can help relieve the pain from carpal tunnel. Make changes to how you sit and move by utilizing ergonomic furniture, keyboards, mice, and other equipment to help you feel better. In addition, you can seek out the care of a chiropractor to see if they have a treatment that can help you with your pain levels before trying other medical options, such as surgery. Some cases may end up requiring surgery to correct the issue and help provide the best relief. Still, discussing your options with your medical professional before making any decisions can be helpful.
Can You Cure Carpal Tunnel Syndrome?
Carpal tunnel syndrome can be alleviated through several remedies to the point where the patient no longer experiences the same problems. However, each person is different where one individual may require surgery another may be able to reverse the condition with some lifestyle changes. That being said, there are times when carpal tunnel syndrome symptoms can start to reoccur when a person falls back into completing the same repetitive motions that caused the issues in the first place. Speaking with health care professionals, like your chiropractor and physician, can help you find the right treatments for carpal tunnel syndrome to relieve the pain you feel and get back to your normal activities with modifications.