Carpal tunnel syndrome is a condition that affects the wrist, causing numbness, tingling, or pain that can be severe in some cases. The condition is caused by compression of the median nerve, which runs through the carpal tunnel in the wrist. Though it is most common in adults, anyone can develop carpal tunnel syndrome. Treating the condition is important to avoid long-term damage, and chiropractic care can be an effective part of a treatment plan.
What Causes Carpal Tunnel Syndrome?
Carpal tunnel syndrome is caused by compression of the median nerve, which runs through the carpal tunnel in the wrist. The carpal tunnel is a narrow passageway of ligaments and bones, and when the median nerve is compressed, the result is numbness, tingling, weakness, and pain in the hand and wrist. Common causes of carpal tunnel syndrome include repetitive motions, such as typing or playing an instrument, and conditions such as diabetes, arthritis, and thyroid dysfunction.
In some cases, carpal tunnel syndrome can also be caused by an injury or trauma to the wrist, such as a fracture or sprain. It can also be caused by a cyst or tumor in the wrist.
What Are the Symptoms of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome?
The most common symptom of carpal tunnel syndrome is an aching or burning sensation in the hand and wrist. Weakness in the hand and wrist can also occur, as well as numbness and tingling in the fingers. Over time, the symptoms can worsen to the point where it is difficult to move the wrist and fingers.
In some cases, the symptoms may be worse at night, and can even wake you up out of a sound sleep. If left untreated, carpal tunnel syndrome can lead to permanent nerve damage.
How Is Carpal Tunnel Syndrome Diagnosed?
Carpal tunnel syndrome is diagnosed by a physical exam and a series of tests, such as nerve conduction studies, electromyography, and X-rays. In some cases, other tests may be needed, such as an MRI or ultrasound.
Your doctor may also ask you to describe the type of pain you are experiencing, and the activities that you do that seem to worsen or improve your symptoms.
How Is Carpal Tunnel Syndrome Treated?
Treatment for carpal tunnel syndrome usually begins with nonsurgical methods, such as wearing a wrist splint or taking anti-inflammatory medications. Chiropractic care is also often recommended for carpal tunnel syndrome, as adjustments and manual therapy can help to reduce inflammation and pressure on the median nerve.
In some cases, surgery may be needed to relieve the pressure on the median nerve. Surgery is usually recommended when symptoms do not improve with conservative treatments.
What Can You Do to Prevent Carpal Tunnel Syndrome?
There are some steps that you can take to reduce your risk of developing carpal tunnel syndrome. These include:
- Taking frequent breaks from repetitive motions, such as typing and playing an instrument
- Using proper posture when sitting or standing
- Using ergonomic keyboards and mouse pads
- Doing exercises that strengthen your wrists and hands
If you have any of the risk factors for carpal tunnel syndrome, or if you experience any of the symptoms, it is important to see your doctor or chiropractor for a diagnosis and treatment plan. With proper treatment, you can reduce your symptoms and prevent long-term damage.
For more information on carpal tunnel syndrome and chiropractic care, visit Eastside Ideal Health.