How Chiropractic Care Can Treat Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
Splints, medication, and surgery aren't the only ways to treat carpal tunnel syndrome. Chiropractic treatment offers an effective solution if you're struggling with pain, tingling, numbness, or weakness in your hand, wrist, and fingers.
Why Treating Carpal Tunnel Syndrome Is So Important
Carpal tunnel syndrome is caused by pressure on the median nerve. This nerve travels the length of your arm and sends signals from your brain to the muscles in your arm, hand, and fingers. These signals tell the muscles how to move when you need to grip a pen, lift a bag, or turn a doorknob.
The median nerve passes through the carpal tunnel, a pathway formed by the bones and tissues in your wrist. The already narrow tunnel can become even tighter due to injuries, fluid retention, chronic health conditions that affect the nerves, or inflammation of the tissues in or around the pathway. Although anyone can develop carpal tunnel syndrome, women are more likely to experience symptoms due to the smaller size of their bones. Your hobbies or occupation may also increase your risk. People who bend their wrists repeatedly when typing, driving, hammering, sewing, painting, or texting have a higher incidence of carpal tunnel syndrome.
If the condition isn't treated promptly, numbness, tingling, weakness, and pain may worsen and nerve damage could occur. Carpal tunnel syndrome can eventually cause permanent weakness and loss of feeling in your fingers, according to the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons.
What Your Chiropractor Can Do to Relieve Your Carpal Tunnel Symptoms
Chiropractors offer several treatments and strategies that may ease your symptoms, including:
- Wrist Manipulation (Adjustment) and Mobilization. Your chiropractor uses these hands-on techniques to realign the bones, tendons, and ligaments in your wrist and improve movement. The treatments improve blood flow to soft tissues and reduce pressure, swelling, and inflammation. In an anatomical study published in Clinical Biomechanics, mobilization treatment increased the size of the carpal tunnel and decreased pressure on the median nerve.
- Spinal Manipulation. Do you have a stiff or sore neck in addition to your carpal tunnel syndrome symptoms? The source of your symptoms may be a misaligned cervical (neck) vertebra. The out-of-place vertebra might be pressing on a nerve in the neck that connects with the median nerve. A misaligned vertebra could cause pain and make it difficult to move your neck. In fact, restricted neck movement was a factor in mild to severe carpal tunnel syndrome in a research study published in the Journal of Orthopaedic & Sports Physical Therapy. Chiropractors use spinal manipulation to correct alignment problems in your neck and relieve pressure on your nerves. The treatment involves quick, hands-on thrusts that improve the position of the vertebrae, relieve painful pressure on tissues and nerves, and improve blood flow.
- Ultrasound Therapy. Ultrasound waves heat the tissues deep inside your wrists during this helpful therapy. The treatment loosens tissues and relieves pain, inflammation and swelling.
- Massage Therapy. Tight tissues in your wrist, hand, arm, shoulder, or neck could be worsening your carpal tunnel syndrome symptoms. Massage eases muscle tension, decreases inflammation, and may relieve pain, numbness, and tingling.
- Taping or Bracing. Bracing or taping supports the wrist and prevents you from accidentally bending or stressing them.
- Exercise. During your visit, your chiropractor may teach you a few wrist exercises that stretch your muscles, decrease pressure on the median nerve, and help the tendons that connect muscles to the bones in your wrist glide through carpal tunnel easily. You may also learn a few exercises to improve the range of motion of your neck, strengthen your neck muscles, and improve your posture and head position. Holding your head too far forward can strain your neck and cause spinal misalignments that could press on nerves.
Are you ready to find out if chiropractic care can help your carpal tunnel syndrome symptoms? Contact our office to schedule your appointment.
American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons: Carpal Tunnel Syndrome, 3/2022
Clinical Biomechanics: Dimensional Changes of the Tunnel and Median Nerve During Manual Mobilization of the Carpal Bones - Anatomical Study, 9/3/2018
Journal of Orthopaedic & Sports Physical Therapy: Women With Carpal Tunnel Syndrome Show Restricted Cervical Range of Motion, 5/2011
MedlinePlus: Carpal Tunnel Syndrome