Many minor injuries really show us how important certain muscles, joints, or other parts of our body are in everyday life. This especially rings true if you develop carpal tunnel.
Carpal tunnel affects the wrist area, and can make everyday activities (working on your computer, driving, and so on) hard to do. Luckily, proper prevention and treatment can help to reduce and eliminate the symptoms of carpal tunnel and get you back to work in no time.
What Causes Carpal Tunnel?
The “carpal tunnel” refers to the palm side of your hand. We only have one nerve that passes through the carpal tunnel, which is called the median nerve. When this nerve is pinched, inflamed, or otherwise negatively affected, we may experience the symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome.
The median nerve can be negatively affected by constant, repetitive motion. So if you are spending hours typing on your computer or engaging in repetitive assembly line work without proper breaks or care for your wrist, pain may build up over time. Overextension of the wrist may also contribute to carpal tunnel syndrome.
There is also research to suggest that other illnesses or health conditions are linked to carpal tunnel, including:
- High blood pressure
- Pregnancy or menopause
An injury to the wrist may also cause inflammation and swelling of the median nerve.
How Do I Know If I Have Carpal Tunnel?
The median nerve affects your ability to feel your thumb, index finger, middle finger, and parts of the ring finger. When there is compression or damage to this nerve, you may lose some or all sensation in those fingers. You may also endure some swelling around your wrist, as the pressure can cause inflammation. Pain throughout your wrist and arm is also common.
Ultimately, though, a doctor will have to determine whether or not you have carpal tunnel through a physical examination or x-rays.
How Is Carpal Tunnel Treated?
Depending on the severity and causes of your carpal tunnel, there are a variety of different treatment options.
If the carpal tunnel has developed due to related issues like diabetes or high blood pressure, these issues may be looked at and treated before or while work is done to help alleviate the symptoms of carpal tunnel.
If symptoms are serious, surgery may be recommended. Carpal tunnel surgery involves cutting or removing the tissue that is putting pressure on the median nerve.
However, surgery typically not necessary to relieve symptoms of carpal tunnel. In most cases, a doctor will recommend the following non-surgical options for treatment:
- Wrist supports
- Rest of wrists from repetitive motions
- Mild pain medications and medication to reduce swelling
- Ultrasound therapy
- Physical or massage therapy
How Can A Chiropractor Help with Carpal Tunnel?
While it may seem that your wrist is too far away from your spine to benefit from chiropractic care, a visit to the chiropractor may be helpful if you are suffering from carpal tunnel. Adjustments to the upper spine, as well as wrist and arm manipulations, may be able to relieve symptoms. Many chiropractors also offer physical or massage therapy services that can reduce carpal tunnel pain as well.
A consultation with a chiropractor can also determine what dietary or lifestyle changes should be made in order to prevent further bouts with carpal tunnel and maintain a pain-free life. If you are suffering from carpal tunnel, get in touch with us to get started on treatment options today.
About the Author:
Dr. Marc Browner is the Founder of iChiropractic and Wellness in Naples, Florida. A graduate of the University of Florida in 1991, he earned his Doctor of Chiropractic degree from Life Chiropractic in 1995. In private practice since 1998, Dr. Browner is a member of the Florida Chiropractic Society, the Florida Chiropractic Association, and he attends continuing education seminars, classes, and workshops to remain abreast of the most current treatment methods and technological advances in the field.