The primary treatment option that a chiropractor would use for carpal tunnel syndrome would be myofascial release massage therapy.
Carpal tunnel syndrome is a particularly painful condition. Left untreated, it is a condition that will continue getting worse, causing increasing pain in the process. If someone is suffering from this condition and wants to do something about it, there are both invasive and non-invasive treatment options they can access.
One of the treatment options that a carpal tunnel syndrome sufferer might want to consider is visiting a reputable chiropractor. Pretty much all licensed chiropractors will have a number of massage and stretching techniques they could employ to treat this condition. Chief among these options would be an option called “myofascial release massage therapy.”
What is Definition of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome?
The carpal tunnel is a passage made of bones and ligaments through which the median nerve passes. The median nerve is a particularly sensitive nerve that serves to allow humans to flex their fingers, hands, and wrists. When lesions and inflammation issues cause the carpal tunnel to constrict, it presses on the median nerve. That results in pain that often interferes with the individual’s ability to properly flex their fingers, hands, and wrists without suffering pain.
What are the Causes of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome?
Carpal tunnel syndrome can occur from a number of different causes, including medical conditions or physical activities. Here is a partial list of the primary causes of this painful condition:
- Repetitive manual activities like typing or writing
- Using hand tools that vibrate
- Strain from work activities
- Hypothyroidism – underactive thyroid
- A hand or wrist injury like a fracture
- Cancerous tumors around the carpal tunnel
What are the symptoms of Carpel Tunnel Syndrome?
To reiterate, the symptoms of carpal will generally start off mild and get progressively worse over time. The following subheadings represent the most prominent symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome.
Weakness that results in problems when gripping objects
The inflicted hand or hands will lose the ability to move in a pinching motion, diminishing the individual’s ability to grip objects.
Pain or numbness through the palm to the fingers
There will be numbness and or electrical shock sensations in the thumb and first three fingers. The pinky finger does not get hit with numbness. As the numbness and electrical shocks increase in intensity, it causes great pain. At some point, the numbness could become constant.
The feeling of “Pins and needles” in the fingers
Sometimes, the numbness will turn into a sensation that feels like the fingers are being pricked with pins and needles.
Swelling of the fingers
As the carpal tunnel progresses, blood flow can get cut off to the fingers. That often results in the fingers becoming swollen, a condition that can also become a constant problem.
Burning or tingling sensation in the fingers, centered with the thumb and the index/middle fingers
When tingling or electric shocks become intense enough, it can start to feel like an actual burning sensation.
Pain or numbness issues that get worse when trying to sleep
When a carpal tunnel syndrome sufferer experiences the symptoms of this condition at night, it can literally interrupt their sleep. When the pain becomes chronic, it can further result in insomnia.
What Are Some Risk Factors that could result in CTS?
There are certain groups of people who are more at risk of getting carpal syndrome than other groups. Some of these risk factors might not directly cause carpal tunnel, but they can become contributing factors.
Anatomic it body factors
People with smaller wrists are more prone to be affected by this disorder. Also, people who experience wrist/palm injuries are more susceptible because the wrist bones become deformed.
Changes in body fluid levels
During pregnancy, menstruation, and menopause, women tend to retain water. When fluid levels in the body increase, swelling can occur around the carpal tunnel. If this happens frequently, carpal tunnel syndrome can become a reality.
Inflammation around the carpal tunnel
Conditions that cause inflammation around the hand or wrist can cause the carpal tunnel to close, pinching the median nerve in the process.
Medications that cause water retention or affect blood flow can create conditions that can lead to carpal tunnel syndrome. Anastrozole (Arimidex), a drug used to treat breast cancer, is one such medication.
Nerve disorder and conditions
Nerve conditions like diabetes and nerve injuries in the arms and wrists can create conditions that are conducive to carpal tunnel syndrome.
People who are obese are always subject to water retention and the build-up of fatty tissues that can constrict nerves. People with obese arms are particularly susceptible to this condition.
Since women have smaller carpal tunnels, they are more prone to this disorder. That’s directly attributable to the fact they already have less room for the passage of the median nerve.
A lot of jobs call for repetitious activities with the hands. Typing, using vibrating power tools, writing, and certain assembly line activities can cause the carpal to constrict.
A Description of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome Symptoms
There are a lot of ways a layperson can determine whether or not they are suffering from carpal tunnel syndrome. The list of common symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome includes (note: the symptoms largely affect the thumb and the first three fingers):
- Initial symptoms include burning, numbness, and tingling
- The feeling of electrical shocks going to the fingers
- Fingers feel swollen and stiff
- Difficulty squeezing and gripping without pain
- Can’t make a fist
How Do Medical Professionals Diagnose Carpal Tunnel Syndrome?
When a doctor or chiropractor goes about diagnosing carpal tunnel syndrome, they will typically rely on visual/physical exams of the hands and wrist. They will be looking for swollen fingers, sensitivity and numbness, and deformities from the hands to the neck. They will also employ strength tests and tests called nerve conduction studies.
What You Can Do to Prevent Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
Yes, it is within your power to prevent carpal tunnel syndrome. If you do a lot of repetitious activities as part of your work, you should always be looking for ways to prevent this condition. Why? The risk of incurring this condition is particularly high with certain employment activities. Here are some prevention options:
- Sit and stand while maintaining good posture
- Take frequent breaks from manual activities
- Avoid gripping as much as possible
- Avoid bending your wrist too frequently
- Keep your hands and fingers warm
What Treatments Does a Chiropractor Use to Treat Carpal Tunnel?
The first thing a chiropractor will do for patients with carpel tunnel syndrome is prescribing a wrist-stabilizing brace. They will also employ the use of therapeutic options like myofascial release massage therapy. Here are two more techniques they might employ.
Activator method chiropractic therapy/technique
A gentle spinal adjustment technique that would address the bones and nerves leading into the arms and wrists.
The Graston Technique
The Graston technique involves the use of an instrument that is used to rub the wrist area. The purpose of the rubbing is to increase blood flow to the “injured” area for better healing.
Other Options for Treating Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
Aside from the aforementioned options that would be used by a professional chiropractor, there are other ways to treat carpal tunnel syndrome. Yes, some ways are more invasive than others. Let’s look at some other carpal tunnel treatment options.
Chiropractic and physical Therapeutic options
This category would include the aforementioned techniques, plus any other stretching and massage techniques that a chiropractor might employ.
Other Non-Surgical (non-invasive) Therapies
There are a number of options that are non-invasive while targeting the release of pressure on the median nerve. Some of these options would be “Wrist Extension Stretch” and “Wrist Flexion Stretch.” Note: These options will help improve wrist range-of-motion issues.
Carpal Tunnel Syndrome Surgery
When non-invasive methods fail, the need for surgery moves to the top of the treatment list. The procedure is called “carpal tunnel release.” It requires that a surgeon make a small incision on the wrist, subsequently increasing the space provided by the carpal tunnel.
Options Currently Used for Nonsurgical Mmanagement of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
If a patient elects to avoid treatment, there are ways they can go about trying to manage their carpal tunnel condition. Let’s look at some non-surgical management options.
Nonsurgical management options
Non-surgical management would include the use of wrist-stabilizing braces, regular visits to the chiropractor, and performing wrist stretching exercises.
This would typically include steroid injections right into the wrist area to reduce inflammation around the carpal tunnel.
Hand/occupational workplace therapy
This includes identifying ways to perform repetitive work tasks without putting a strain on the wrist area.
This encompasses acupuncture needle placements in and around the wrist to increase blood flow to the wrist area.
This would entail the use of low-level laser therapy (LLLT) to keep the wrist area adequately stimulated for better blood flow.
Yoga and meditation
Yoga and meditation could be used to relax muscles in the back, neck, arms, and wrist.
Magnetic field therapy with static magnets
This would include the use of static magnets to keep the wrist area stimulated while also reducing inflammation in that same area.
How can a chiropractor treat carpal tunnel?
A licensed chiropractor can employ several different treatments to help relieve the symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome. The options they would typically have at their disposal would include myofascial release massage and stretching techniques like Wrist Extension Stretch and Wrist Flexion Stretch
Can chiropractic fix carpal tunnel?
A chiropractor fixing carpel tunnel is not likely. What they can do is employ chiropractic techniques for carpal tunnel syndrome symptom relief and prevention.
What is the best procedure for carpal tunnel?
The best procedure is always the least invasive procedure. Myofascial release massage therapy provided by a licensed chiropractor is always a good place to start addressing the condition.
How does a chiropractor adjust your wrist?
Most of the adjustments that a chiropractor would make in the wrist area are focused on stretching exercises. These exercises are designed to utilize motions that tighten and release the wrist muscles and tendons.
Carpal tunnel chiropractic vs surgery
Unless the carpal tunnel condition is causing constant and severe pain, a chiropractor can help treat the symptoms related to the condition. Surgery is the most invasive option, one that does come with more risk.
Can a chiropractor help with cubital tunnel syndrome?
The cubital tunnel (a tunnel of muscle, ligament, and bone) is an elbow tunnel through which the ulnar nerve passes. Cubital tunnel syndrome is very similar to carpal tunnel syndrome other that the fact the issue arises in the elbow. Since the conditions are quite similar, chiropractors can treat this condition in much the same ways they would treat carpal tunnel conditions.
Can a chiropractor help with numbness in hands?
There are quite a few conditions that can cause numbness in the hand. Among them would be carpal tunnel syndrome and pinched nerves in the neck. Yes, a chiropractor can employ several different chiropractic adjustments and massage techniques to relieve hand numbness.
Do chiropractors work on hands?
Yes. Professional chiropractors will generally be able to work on any part of the body’s neuromuscular skeletal system. That would include the fingers, hands, and wrists.