It’s estimated that about three to six percent of the population deals with some form of carpal tunnel. This doesn’t include the people who might not report the issue. They may try to ignore it or just don’t seek help.
Because of the large percentage of people dealing with carpal tunnel, it’s important to know how to fight it. Thankfully, there are some effective solutions, such as chiropractic care. We offer reliable chiropractic care here at Integrative Physical Health.
What is Carpal Tunnel?
First, we have to talk about what carpal tunnel is. When people mention carpal tunnel, they are talking about a syndrome that affects your hand and arm.
The reason this issue develops has to do with a nerve in your hand. The nerve is referred to as the median nerve within the palm of your hand. When constant pressure is placed here for extended periods, nerve carpal tunnel syndrome can develop.
You might wonder why it’s called carpal tunnel syndrome. It’s given the name because the pressure occurs in the carpal tunnel.
The tunnel is an opening in the middle of your wrist. The tunnel is made up of carpal bones and ligaments, which is the reason it’s called the carpal tunnel. This tunnel is where the nerve passes through and where the pressure could occur. The nerve affects your thumb and three middle fingers.
Why Would This Happen?
There are many reasons you would experience carpal tunnel. The following are some of those reasons:
- Thyroid dysfunction
- High blood pressure
- Autoimmune disorders
- Fluid retention
- Wrist overextension and overworking
All of these things could cause you to deal with carpal tunnel syndrome, and it’s not a good thing. The pain can be debilitating if it gets too bad.
Overworking your wrist or overextending it is a lot easier than you might think. For example, if you work a power tool daily or use the computer all day, you could stress the median nerve passing through your carpal tunnel.
We need to point out that these are just some causes of carpal tunnel. There are many others. For example, the issue could be linked to a problem with your cervical spine.
What are the Signs of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome?
The next thing you have to figure out are signs of this issue. In the beginning, you probably won’t feel anything but slowly and surely you will.
The following are signs associated with carpal tunnel:
- Unexplained pain in hands and arm
- Burning sensation from hand to arm
- Weakness in hand and arm
- Pain even at night
If you’re starting to develop some of these symptoms, it’s best to talk to us.
We can tell you what is happening and help you cope with carpal tunnel.
Failing to deal with it could make your life much harder. Sometimes, work can become nearly impossible to perform. This is especially true if you work with computers.
Everything is on computers and smartphones nowadays, so having this particular issue will become a hindrance if it’s not addressed soon.
What Can a Chiropractor Do to Help?
There are a few things your chiropractor can do for you. It all starts with discovery. We have to figure out what is causing the issue.
The issue could stem from the type of work you do and the kind of pressure it’s putting on your hands. The issue could also be linked to the cervical spine, which is something we deal with often and know how to address.
The following are some ways chiropractors might approach your carpal tunnel syndrome:
Massage therapy can help address carpal tunnel in several ways. When the right muscle manipulation is applied to the correct places, things like inflammation, pain, and numbness can be greatly reduced if not eliminated.
The massage therapy will be applied as needed. If the issue is mostly in your wrist and hands, then that’s what we are going to focus on.
If the issue has something to do with your cervical spine, we need to perform adjustments. We do this to try to adjust your spine.
When the issue is in your spine, then you’ve got a misalignment. This can cause all sorts of issues, like back pain and everything that comes along with that. People with spine problems usually deal with mood swings and sometimes have trouble falling asleep.
Our adjustments will help with all of this and more. If your carpal tunnel is a symptom of your spine misalignment, then this should make a difference, too.
This is a non-invasive procedure that could be helpful. Ultrasound therapy uses ultrasound to reduce the inflammation you’re experiencing within your wrist that is making your life harder.
This therapy penetrates the area using these sound waves. Once they make it in, you should experience some relief since these waves are going to relax the muscles causing you so much trouble.
You might need to do this many times before you feel a significant change, but it should help, depending on your particular situation. You won’t feel any pain, which is wonderful.
We sometimes have to approach this issue using very specific exercises.
The type of exercise we apply depends on your case, so proper examination is required. To reduce the pain, inflammation, or whatever you are dealing with, we can use something like wrist extensions.
Wrist extension is a stretching exercise. What we do is straighten your arm. Then, the wrist is bent backward. In essence, you’ll look like you are asking someone to stop.
Once you’ve achieved this position, we will ask you to pull your palm backward using your other hand.
You are going to have to keep this position for at least 15 seconds. If the issue is in both hands, then you will be asked to perform this stretch again but on your other hand. This can be done at home, but it’s best if we teach you the right form first.
Wrist flexion is another type of stretch that we may have to perform to help you recover from your carpal tunnel syndrome. It’s another non-invasive procedure that has produced positive results before.
What you’re going to be doing is straightening your arm once again except this time your palm is going to face down. We are going to ask you to bend your wrist enough to ensure your fingers point down.
After you achieve this position, you’re going to push your hand towards you. This has to be done gently and slowly, just to be safe. Hold that position for 15 seconds and you are done. Do your other hand as well if needed.
Medial Nerve Glides
Medial nerve glides are performed as easily as the exercises just mentioned. For this, you make a fist but keep the thumb outside the fist. The thumb should be facing you when performing this exercise.
The next thing you are going to do is extend your fingers and thumb to look like a paw. Then, you can bend your wrists upward.
When you achieve this, stretch your thumb to the best of your abilities and straighten your arm. It’s going to feel a bit strange, but that is what you want. Do this exercise regularly, and you should get some relief given enough time.
These are some things we can do to help, but there are more things to perform if necessary. We could just provide wrist supports to help align your wrists, which should give you some relief. These supports could also prevent further damage, which is a good thing, too. Give Integrative Physical Health a call, or make an appointment to see what we can do to help.