Carpal tunnel syndrome is a highly common and potentially debilitating condition which affects the hands and arms of sufferers. Often, it is brought on by work-related overuse. In 1998, carpal tunnel syndrome was estimated to account for 60 percent of work-related injuries. A 2007 estimate found that carpal tunnel syndrome also resulted in the second-longest average recovery time amongst common work related injuries. Sufferers generally required around 28 days to regain health after being sidelined by this issue. The good news is that the symptoms of carpal tunnel set in over time. Chiropractic care can help sufferers limit their pain and loss of productivity.
Carpal Tunnel Causes
Carpal tunnel syndrome is the result of compression in the median nerve. This nerve runs from the top of the forearm all the way down into the palm of the hand. It’s responsible for both control and sensation in the thumb and three largest fingers. At the wrist, it passes through the carpal tunnel – a small boney passageway which also houses tendons. When there is swelling within these tendons at the carpal tunnel, the median nerve becomes pinched or compressed and its functional abilities are compromised.
Carpal tunnel can be caused by a number of factors. In particular, those with smaller carpal tunnels are more likely to suffer from a compressed median nerve. Women are three times more likely than men to suffer from this syndrome. It is believed that women are more likely to experience carpal tunnel syndrome because they have smaller carpal tunnels than the average man. There is also a link between assembly line work, which requires repetitive hand motions, and a higher risk of developing carpal tunnel syndrome. Although a person can be affected at any age, those between 30 to 60 years of age are most likely to experience this syndrome.
Carpal Tunnel Symptoms
Common symptoms experienced with carpal tunnel syndrome include:
- Tingling sensation in hands at night
- Sensation of swelling despite no visuals signs that this is the case
- Decreased grip strength and finger dexterity
- Shooting pain that may go all the way up the arm into the shoulder
Chiropractic Approach to Carpal Tunnel
A chiropractor will address carpal tunnel by first inquiring about their patient’s lifestyle. This gives the medical professional a better idea of the specific risk factors which may be causing their patient’s symptoms. Often, the chiropractor will use an x-ray or EMG to take a closer look at the carpal tunnel region and the status of the median nerve. Therapy will likely involve non-invasive manipulation of the affected hands and arms in conjunction with behavioral changes to lower the likelihood of re-injury going forward.
If you believe you are suffering from carpal tunnel, a visit to the chiropractor can serve as a step toward regained health – without the use of an invasive surgical procedure.