What is Carpal Tunnel Syndrome?
Carpal tunnel syndrome refers to irritation and pain around the ‘carpal tunnel’. Carpal is the name given to any bone of the wrist i.e. carpal bones.
The tunnel is a ligament passage through which nerves, blood vessels and tendons pass. The carpal tunnel can be found on the palm side of your wrist. Your median nerve, which controls sensation and movement in the thumb and first fingers, runs through this passage.
Problems can arise through poor wrist ergonomics, overuse, sports injury and repetitive strain injury.
Carpal Tunnel Syndrome Symptoms
Carpal tunnel develops over time. As nerve compression increases, symptoms become more constant. Symptoms (in the wrist/hand/fingers):
- ‘pins and needle’ sensation
- weakness in thumb and first two fingers over time
Carpel Tunnel Causes
There is no one definitive cause of carpal tunnel. The carpal tunnel structure, narrow and rigid, can be prone to swelling and inflammation. Causes can include:
- prolonged wrist movement, either upward or downward, leading to irritation, decreased nerve function and reduced blood supply.
- movements or actions such as repetitive grasping with only the thumb and index finger.
- repetitive actions such as assembly line work.
Treatment – can chiropractic help carpal tunnel?
Statistics indicate women are three times more likely than men to develop this condition. Without any form of treatment, the condition may worsen and symptoms may become constant. Radiating pain up to the shoulder, tight muscles and even atrophy (muscle wasting) around the thumb can be common in severe cases.
Treatment options may include:
- manual therapy (such as chiropractic, yoga or acupuncture)
- anti-inflammatory drugs
- Some studies have demonstrated that chiropractic adjustments to the wrist, elbow and upper spine can be beneficial.
As a Chiropractor, I understand just how interconnected the body is. There is often a cause and effect relationship at work. An issue in one part of the body may manifest as a problem in another. For example, a spinal misalignment in the lower back (the cause) can result in sharp, immobilising pain down the leg (the effect), commonly called sciatica.
It’s advisable to speak with your health care practitioner about your particular case. We can schedule a consultation so that you can decide if chiropractic is right for you.
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