Have you ever experienced numbness, pain or tingling in your hand? It might be carpal tunnel syndrome. It is a common condition that affects adults around the world. There are several treatment options available including medication, steroid injection or surgery. Some patients are worried about the risks and complications of aggressive treatments, thus they seek safer and more conservative alternative remedies such as hand therapy and chiropractic treatment. But what is carpal tunnel syndrome? What are its symptoms? And how can you find a safe and effective treatment for such conditions?
Understanding Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
Patients who experience having carpal tunnel syndrome describe it as numb feeling, tingling sensation, as well as weakness or pain in the thumb, middle and index fingers. These symptoms are caused by the compression of the nerve in the wrists. There are several factors that can lead to this condition, but often, the cause is unknown.
The carpal tunnel is the tiny passageway of the nerves in your wrist. It is surrounded by ligaments and bones on the palm portion of the hand. When the median nerve passing through this tunnel is compressed, you start experiencing symptoms such as weakness, tingling and numbness of your arm and hand.
Some of the things that can contribute to its development include the unique anatomy of your wrist, repetitive motions and other health problems. When treated properly, the patient finds relief from the numbness and tingling. Wrist and hand functions are also restored properly.
Symptoms of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
The symptoms associated with CTS typically start slowly. It includes the following conditions:
Numbness and Tingling – a patient will notice a tingling sensation or numbness in the hand or fingers. It is apparent in the thumb, index, middle or ring fingers. It would seem like an electric shock runs through these fingers and travels to the wrist and arm. All these can be felt on all occasions whether you are holding a phone, reading the papers, driving or sleeping. Some would “shake out” their hands in an attempt to relieve the sensation. But it can become a constant feeling over time.
Weakness – another symptom that is commonly experienced is weakness in the hand. It is the kind of pain that can cause you to drop things that you are holding. This could be due to the numbness or weakness of the muscles in your hand and fingers.
Carpal tunnel syndrome happens when there is pressure on the median nerve. This nerve runs from the forearm through a passageway or the carpal tunnel in the wrists. It is also the one that provides sensations to the palm side of the fingers and thumb, except the pinky finger. This nerve also provides motor functions or signals the muscles around the base of the thumb.
When there is an irritation or if the nerve is squeezed in the carpal tunnel space, it leads to the carpal tunnel syndrome. If the wrist is fractured it can narrow down this passageway and irritate the nerve. It can also be due to swelling or inflammation caused by rheumatoid arthritis. But generally, there is no single known cause of this condition. It can also be caused by several factors that contributed to its development.
As soon as the symptoms start, carpal tunnel syndrome should be addressed immediately. There are simple things that you can do to improve the condition and prevent it from worsening. For instance, you can take frequent breaks to rest your hands, apply a cold pack for the swelling and avoid activities that may worsen the condition.
For serious cases, carpal tunnel treatment options range from splinting, taking medications and surgery. Splinting and other treatments are ideal for managing mild to moderate symptoms. However, if you feel numbness in parts of your hand, you have to consult your doctor and find the most appropriate treatment for it.
For conditions that are diagnosed early, the doctor may recommend nonsurgical therapy to improve the symptoms. It includes the following:
- Wrist splinting – it is best done during nighttime as you sleep to relieve numbness and tingling.
- Nonsteroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs (NSAIDs) – pain relievers such as ibuprofen may help alleviate the pain from this condition however, it does not improve the symptoms.
- Corticosteroid Injections – doctors may advise you to have injections in your carpal tunnel to relieve pain. It will reduce swelling and inflammation to ease the pressure on the median nerve.
Additionally, if the carpal tunnel syndrome is due to rheumatoid arthritis, you may need to manage the arthritis to reduce the symptoms.
More so, if your symptoms are severe and you are not responding to treatments, doctors may suggest you undergo surgery. There are two techniques applied for carpal tunnel treatment surgery.
- Endoscopic Surgery – this surgery involves the use of a tiny camera that helps the surgeon during the procedure. It is less painful than open surgery and the recovery process is much faster.
- Open Surgery – this involves an incision in the palm of the hand and over the carpal tunnel. The surgeon will free the nerve by cutting through the ligament.
There are risks and benefits if you will undergo surgery for carpal tunnel such as scar formation, incomplete release of ligament, wound infection and injury to the nerves. The healing process also takes some time with full functionality returning gradually.
Alternative Options for Treating Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
Because of the risks attached to conventional treatments and medication, most patients are after non-invasive and natural methods. But before trying anything, it is best to consult with your doctor. Here are some alternative remedies for carpal tunnel syndrome.
- Yoga – there are postures designed to stretch, strengthen and balance the joints and help reduce pain while improving grip strength.
- Hand Therapy – some physical and occupational hand therapy can help lessen the symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome.
- Lifestyle and Home Remedies – there are also specific steps that you can take that will provide temporary relief for your symptoms. Losing weight if you are overweight, taking frequent breaks, and avoiding sleeping on your hands can help improve your symptoms.
How Chiropractic Care Help In Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
Another alternative treatment that people suffering from carpal tunnel syndrome can have is to undergo chiropractic care. It has become an effective and popular option because it does not involve surgery.
Chiropractors can help patients find relief from their pain and the majority of patients showed improvements in their range of motion and finger sensation. Here are four significant ways that this alternative carpal tunnel treatment can benefit patients.
Chiropractic Treatment is a Non-Invasive Option
For cases who have gone undiagnosed and untreated for a long time and ended up being too painful, chiropractic care is an excellent alternative to surgery as the last resort. Regular adjustments and sessions will show positive results in managing and treating CTS pain and symptoms.
Chiropractic Treatment Reduces Reliance to Medication
When managing symptoms of CTS, taking your daily medication is not an ideal course of action. Some patients experience negative side effects. Working with a chiropractor will reduce your reliance on pain medication in handling and relieving your CTS symptoms. Regular chiropractic care will ensure that your musculoskeletal system is properly aligned to help your body function optimally. When you work with experienced chiropractors, you will get a more individualized treatment plan to ensure that you take the right path to healing.
Learning to Manage Symptoms
CTS is a chronic condition that can make patients feel like there is no more hope for them to heal. With the help of a chiropractor for carpal tunnel treatment, patients will learn to manage their symptoms and have more control over their own body. Patients become empowered as the pain is relieved and they find healing through chiropractic treatment.
The Yentz Chiropractic Can Help You Find Relief For Your Pain
Some people are still hesitant to approach chiropractors for various reasons. If it is your first time to consult, you should find a center that is highly recommended for their service and holistic chiropractic treatment options. The Yentz Family Chiropractic offers different services including at home spine corrections and adjustments, efficient spine care, scientifically designed programs, health talks, nutritional plans and carpal tunnel treatment. The center is not only focused on helping patients heal and recover from their afflictions. They aim to provide a holistic approach so that you can pursue your health goals and succeed.