What is Carpal Tunnel Syndrome?
Carpal Tunnel Syndrome is hand tingling, numbness and pain. Females more commonly have the condition.
Normally, Carpal Tunnel occurs with people who perform jobs that require repetitive hand movements. Typing, flexing or extending the wrist for long periods of time are very commonly the cause. It can also occur with a muscle or tendon pressing on the nerve or if a bone in the wrist is out of place. Preventing pressure on the median nerve will decrease inflammation in the area and alleviate the problem.
Carpal Tunnel is a "tunnel" made by bones and tissues in your wrist. Bones in the wrist ("carpals") move and slide to form a tunnel on the palmar surface of the wrist. The median nerve goes through this tunnel into the fingers. The transverse carpal ligament goes over the nerve and provides protection and lubrication to the joint. Sometimes this ligament gets tight and presses on the nerve if muscles, tendons and bones are not in the place they need to be or if there is swelling in the region. Carpal Tunnel can also occur in cases where people sleep with their hands bent for long periods of time.
How do I know if I have carpal tunnel?
1. Numbness, tingling or pain in the hand
2. If an electric shock occurs on the thumb or the long fingers (excluding the pinky)
Initially, symptoms will come and go. Numbness, tingling and pain will occur for short periods, then go away. This is a warning signal! If left without treatment, it will get worse and the symptoms will come back more severely and may last longer and interfere with sleep. Easy tasks may become difficult. You may not be able to button your shirt like you used to or open a pickle jar without pain. You may also begin to drop things easily.
So what can we do to help
To find out if you have this problem, we will talk to you about your symptoms and discuss your medical history. We will perform orthopedic tests to determine if this is indeed Carpal Tunnel Syndrome or another nerve affecting the area. Here is some of what will be performed:
- Tests to determine weakness in the muscles of your hands
- Bending and holding your wrists in positions which begin to test the median nerve in your hands
- Testing the median nerve to see if symptoms occur
There are several traditional forms of treatment that have been applied by practioners in the past. Wrist braces, anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), such as ibuprofen, ceasing activity on the wrist or corticosteroid injections. Some of these may work but if they don't, surgery will be recommended. What happens is cut or thin out the transverse carpal ligament. This can expose the nerve to injury and have the symptoms reoccur.
Chiroractors want to help you naturally without the use of drugs or surgery.
What chiropractic does is to make sure the body is aligned properly so the median nerve is not impinged or irritated. We can do this by working with your muscles, tendons and bones. We can prevent unnecessary surgery, steroid shots which have been proven to impede healing and NSAIDS which have to be filtered out by your internal organs which can put an added stress on those areas.
Chiropractors have a high percentage of success with Carpal Tunnel Syndrome and most extremity issues!
Please call today if you are experiencing any discomfort. We can help.
Dr. Amie B. Gregory, D.C.
Sport and extremity chiropractor located in Redwood City, CA and surrounding areas.