Healthy Beginnings

Carpal Tunnel Syndrome, do you have it?

Carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS) is an injury caused by a pinched nerve in the wrist. The injury causes pain and numbness in the index and middle fingers and weakness of the thumb. Carpal tunnel receives its name from the eight bones in the wrist, called carpals, which form a “tunnel” through which the nerve leading to the hand extends.

Fortunately, not all wrist pain should be called CTS. It is important to determine, if in fact, the symptoms are being caused by the pressure on the nerves of the wrist, or if there is a different cause of the problem. It is VERY common for these types of symptoms to exist when there is a neck misalignment, history of auto injury, or other spinal conditions. The nerves of the neck control all the nerves of our arms and hands. If the nerves of the neck are being compressed, wrist and hand pain is a common symptom. Your Doctor of Chiropractic is trained to determine whether your condition is a true carpal tunnel syndrome.

Signs and symptoms of CTS include:

  • Nighttime painful tingling in one or both hands, frequently causing sleep disturbance
  • Feeling of uselessness in the fingers
  • A sense that fingers are swollen even though little or no swelling is apparent
  • Daytime tingling in the hands, followed by a decreased ability to squeeze things
  • Loss of strength in the muscle at the base of the thumb, near the palm
  • Pain shooting from the hand up the arm as far as the shoulder

Who’s Most At Risk?

People working with small hand tools in manufacturing and those using a computer keyboard on a regular basis are especially at risk.

Women are two to five times more likely than men to develop CTS. It most commonly occurs in people ages 30 to 60 years old. CTS is associated with health conditions, such as Lyme disease, hypothyroidism, rubella, pregnancy, obesity, and menopause. High caffeine, tobacco or alcohol intake are also contributing risk factors.

Treatment Options:

There are multiple ways to treat CTS. Some of these are: Drug therapies, Homeopathy, Acupuncture, Chiropractic, Massage, Herbs/nutrition, and Surgery. We’ll focus on the chiropractic and nutritional aspects.

Chiropractic:

CTS is commonly treated by chiropractors. The methods most chiropractors use to treat CTS include manipulation of the wrist, elbow, and upper spine, ultrasound therapy, and wrist supports.

A study compared the effects of chiropractic care with conservative medical care (wrist supports and ibuprofen) among 91 people with CTS. Both groups experienced significant improvement in nerve function, finger sensation and comfort. The researchers concluded that chiropractic treatment and conservative medical care are equally effective for people with CTS.

Nutrition:

If you feed your whole body, you feed your Carpal Tunnel. No getting around it!

The healthier you are and the stronger your immune system is, the easier it will be for your body to heal.When you are healthy, from the inside out, you will have less pain.Eating foods that create a decrease in inflammation will greatly help. To find a list go to Google and type in “anti-inflammatory foods.”

References:

1. Carpel Tunnel syndrome, University of Maryland Medical Center. www.umm.edu

2. Chiropractic > carpel tunnel syndrome. www.chiroweb.com

3. Raimbeau G. Recurrent carpal tunnel syndrome. Chir Main. 2008;27(4):134-45.

4 www.carpaltunnelpainreliefnow.com Carpal Tunnel Pain Relief and Nutrition: Feed Your whole Body March 26, 2009.

For more info, contact Dr. Tony Jensen at (775) 323-1222.