Your Santa Clara Chiropractor can help your carpal tunnel pain, and here’s how:
Carpal Tunnel Syndrome is the most prevalent nerve entrapment disorder. As the term “nerve entrapment” infers, these disorders show up when a nerve is trapped or compressed between body tissues creating inflammation and impairment of the nerve.
The carpal tunnel is embedded within the underside of the wrist. It is a tunnel, or passage, through which the Median nerve moves on its way to energize and animate the hand and fingers. Along with the median nerve, the carpal tunnel contains the nine tendons of the forearm muscles that are responsible for bending and flexing of the fingers and thumb. There are also arteries and lymphatic vessels that supply circulation to the hand located within the tunnel. Wrist bones form the bottom and sides of the tunnel, while the top is shaped by the transverse carpal ligament, a strong band of connective tissue. The carpal tunnel is a densely-packed space about the size of an index finger. The flexor tendons, arteries and median nerve are designed to glide easily past each other during wrist and finger movement.
If the tendon size increases from inflammation or hypertrophy (growth), or if the carpal tunnel size dimenishes due to a misalignment of the carpal bones, the median nerve can become compressed or entrapped by the carpal tunnel. The initial symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome usually include pain, numbness, paraesthesia (pins and needles) and tingling in the fingers and hands especially the thumb and adjacent two fingers. The symptoms are markedly apparent at night, often awakening the sufferer from sleep and making it necessary for the person to “shake out” or rub the hands in an attempt to relieve the unpleasant sensations. In addition, activity can cause the hands to feel lumpish or weak, and fatigue easily. Over time, the ability to hold small objects using the thumb and fingers can be affected severely and if left untreated, can lead to total dysfunction of the hand.
The following are typical causes and corresponding conditions:
- repetitive and forceful grasping with the hands
- prolonged computer usage especially with poor wrist position
- activities that require repetitive bending of the wrist
- broken or dislocated bones in the wrist which produce swelling
- arthritis, especially the rheumatoid type
- thyroid gland imbalance
- sugar diabetes
- hormonal changes associated with menopause or pregnancy
Although any of the above can can be a contributing factor to Carpal Tunnel Syndrome, in many cases the cause is unknown. However, people who perform jobs that require use of vibration tools and machinery, and/or work in extreme temperatures are often subjected to this condition. In addition, repetitive housework as seemingly inconsequential as wringing clothes by hand, can bring on carpal tunnel symptoms. By far the most significant reason for the increase of people suffering with CTS is the continuous rise in the use of computers. This is becoming a major concern in the developed world where people of all ages are spending much of their time typing on a keyboard & clicking on a mouse.
Competent diagnosis and treatment is vital to relieving the painful and debilitating symptoms of CTS. Your Santa Clara Chiropractor is highly skilled in the diagnosis and management of CTS. Chiropractors are equipped to deal with this problem and can offer many sufferers with relief. Treatment by chiropractor can include ultrasound or low level laser to help reduce inflammation, electro-therapy to strengthen weak muscles of the forearm, soft tissue massage to stretch contracted tissues and, of course, adjustments of the dysfunctional joints of the wrist. Your chiropractor may suggest that you wear a splint or support, especially at night, to aid in the decompression of the carpal tunnel. Your Santa Clara Chiropractor will also give you specific exercises to stretch and/or strengthen muscles of the forearm and hand.