Carpal Tunnel Pain in Cumming?
Did you know that just as nerves become pinched in your back by the bones in your spine, the bones in your wrist may also compress nearby nerves giving rise to the symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome? While many people seek treatment through surgical means, our Cumming chiropractor at Back & Neck Pain Relief Center has had success in treating carpel tunnel syndrome through non-invasive adjustments to the bones of the wrist.
Carpal tunnel syndrome patients can be extremely frustrating to care for in a conservative medical setting. Many patients will move too quickly to the surgical option, without fully considering conservative approaches, for which there is some evidence of efficacy and a good safety record.
With surgical procedures costing anywhere between $6,000 and $11,000 dollars and only resulting in full resolution of symptoms in less than 60% of the cases, many people are beginning to elect a more conservative approach to care. For these reasons, our doctors at Back & Neck Pain Relief Center have prepared this short article to provide you some general information about carpal tunnel and the alternative treatment solutions available.
Carpal Tunnel in Cumming
Many people visit our clinic with complaints of wrist pain and questions regarding what exactly carpal tunnel syndrome feels like. Typically, as the median nerve is compressed due to swelling and bony misalignments of the wrist, patients begin to feel sensations of burning, pain, tingling or swelling extending from the first to the third digit and the thumb. It is not uncommon for patients to report that they have recently noticed weakness throughout the affected hand or that picking up small objects isn’t as easy as usual. Occasionally people develop the feeling of swelling in their hand as the median nerve becomes compressed, even when no swelling is present.
In addition to questions about what carpal tunnel syndrome feels like, patients often wonder how they developed the condition. Typically, the cause of carpal tunnel syndrome isn’t completely evident. However, some patients are able to recall an injury to the wrist that caused the symptoms to develop shortly after. Certain occupations have also been shown to contribute to the development of the condition with jobs that involve long-term use of vibrating instruments and the repetitious use of the hands and wrist topping the list. Finally, metabolic disorders involving the pituitary and thyroid gland can also contribute to its development.
Depending on the activity, carpal tunnel typically begins in a person’s dominant hand, but symptoms throughout both hands is not uncommon. Unfortunately, many health care professionals only focus on the site of pain when the problem actually lies elsewhere. In fact, it has been shown that patients suffering from carpal tunnel syndrome in both arms typically have nerve irritation stemming from the spine. This is often why carpal tunnel decompression surgeries are unsuccessful nearly 40% of the time. While carpal tunnel is more common in the dominant hand, it is also nearly 3 times more common in women due to the size of the tunnel itself.
Chiropractic Care For Carpal Tunnel
The rationale for providing chiropractic care in patients with mild to moderate carpal tunnel syndrome is four-fold:
- Wrist mobilization/manipulation may allow the nerves to move more freely through the wrist and adjuncts such as stretching and exercises to increase forearm and hand strength, may be important additions to care.
- The patient may have a coexisting neck disorder that could benefit from manipulation and/or the nerves coursing through the wrist may be compromised by a "double crush lesion" at the cervical joints.
- Your patient's simple preference to try a non-drug and non-surgical potential solution.
- Failure to respond to conservative medical care such as bracing or medications, and surgery is being weighed.
As far as the "double crush" theory, the jury is still out on its validity (Russel BS. Chiropr & Osteopat 2008;16(1):2). In patients with only sensory disturbances, as opposed to motor weakness, the validity is more uncertain.
Nevertheless, if your CTS patient also has neck pain, it does provide an additional indication for adjustments. I have been trained in specific techniques were displaced/sprained carpal bones are adjusted.
There are case reports, case series/comparison trials, and at least one full-scale randomized clinical trial demonstrating efficacy for chiropractic care in patients with carpal tunnel syndrome (Vernon R. J Manipulative Physiol Ther 1994;17:246; Burke J, et. al. J Manipulative Physiol Ther 2007;30;50; Davis PT, et. al. J Manipulative Physiol Ther 1998;21:317). Cochrane reviews on carpal tunnel syndrome and arm complaints have reported modest evidence of efficacy for manipulation/mobilization.
The safety of chiropractic care based on a review of the evidence is good. There have been no reported adverse reactions in trials of CTS patients. Cervical adverse reactions are also very rare.
What are the Best Treatments Available?
The most appropriate treatment for your carpal tunnel syndrome largely depends on the underlying cause. As with most conditions, it is advised that patients begin with a non-invasive and more affordable treatment. While prescription medications, decompression surgeries, and forms of physical therapy may provide short-term relief, the symptoms often reappear without the correction of the nerve interference in the spine. Your chiropractor at Back & Neck Pain Relief Center will perform an evaluation of your condition and formulate an individualized treatment plan that best suits you. Following spinal corrections, many patients experience substantial improvements of their symptoms. If symptoms persist, adjustments to the bones of the wrist and therapies to the surrounding tissues is often considered.
At Back & Neck Pain Relief Center in Cumming, GA we understand that making decisions about how to treat carpal tunnel syndrome can be difficult. If you would like more information about carpal tunnel or to schedule a consultation, contact our clinic today.
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