Carpal tunnel syndrome develops when pressure is placed on your median nerve. Your carpal tunnel is a thin passage on the palm side of your hand that’s surrounded by ligaments and bones.
This guide will introduce you to the syndrome causes, symptoms and treatment options. We’ll show you how chiropractors at Tulsa Spine and Rehab diagnose and treat this syndrome.
What Are the Risk Factors for Carpal Tunnel Syndrome?
Women are at a higher risk of developing this syndrome than men. Obesity, rheumatoid arthritis and diabetes could increase your risk of this syndrome, too. Repetitive or prolonged wrist flexion could lead to carpal tunnel syndrome, especially if you work with vibrating tools. Additionally, working in the cold increases your risk.
What Are the Symptoms of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome?
In the early stages of carpal tunnel syndrome, you might notice numbness or tingling feelings in your hand and fingers. Typically, you’ll feel these sensations in your thumb, index finger, middle finger or ring finger. Several fingers may be affected, and you could experience electric shock sensations that move from your wrist to your arm.
Tingling and numbness are especially common when waking up from sleep, driving and holding phones or other objects. At first, feelings of numbness and tingling may come and go. As the condition progresses, you could experience these sensations constantly.
In addition to tingling and numbness, you might experience weakness in your thumb, fingers and wrist when you have carpal tunnel. Your thumb’s pinching muscles are controlled by the median nerve, and the compression of the nerve could cause you to be unable to grasp and hold objects.
How Do Chiropractors Diagnose This Condition?
Chiropractors will diagnose this syndrome by asking you about your symptoms and conducting a physical examination. You’ll be asked when the symptoms began, where the symptoms occur and how they impact your daily life.
During the physical examination, your chiropractor will measure the strength in your hand muscles. He or she will check for numbness or tingling in your fingers, too. The chiropractor may want to examine your neck and spine to see if problems in these areas could be contributing to your hand and wrist symptoms. To conclude the exam, your chiropractor may tap on your median nerve to see if this causes soreness.
To rule out arthritis or fractures, you may be asked to have an x-ray of your wrist. Nerve conduction studies may be carried out if you have severe symptoms.
How Do Chiropractors Treat This Syndrome?
In conventional medicine, treatment options include lifestyle modifications, the use of wrist splints and other non-surgical treatments, medications and surgical procedures. Many conventional doctors may rush to suggest invasive surgery for the treatment of this syndrome.
Getting your treatment from a chiropractor could help you make the most of all of the non-surgical treatment options that are available to you. Your chiropractor may be able to help you access alternative treatments that aren’t available at conventional medical practices.
For example, your chiropractor may recommend massage, ultrasound therapy and simple physical therapy exercises that could ease your symptoms. You may be shown wrist flexion stretches, wrist extension stretches and medial nerve glides. These exercises can be performed at home to reduce the pressure on your median nerve.
Your chiropractor may manipulate your wrist and elbow to reduce pressure on the median nerve in those areas. If you have issues with your neck, the chiropractor may gently manipulate it to decrease the pressure on the median nerve at that location.
If you’re experiencing symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome, our Tulsa Spine and Rehab chiropractors are here to help. Give us a call today, and we’ll set up an appointment so that you can get started with a personalized treatment plan. We look forward to helping you!