Chiropractic Adjusting Treatments and Laser Therapy for Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
Carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS) occurs when the median nerve running from the forearm into the palm of the hand becomes pressed or squeezed at the wrist. CTS is the most common and widely known of entrapment neuropathies(1) in which one of the body’s peripheral nerves is pressed upon.
The carpal tunnel is a narrow rigid passageway of ligament and bones at the base of the hand. It houses the median nerve(2) and the tendons that bend the fingers. The median nerve is what provides feeling to the palm side of the thumb and to the index, middle, and part of the ring fingers (but not the little finger). It also controls some small muscles at the base of the thumb.
When this passageway or tunnel is narrowed by swelling or thickening from the lining of irritated tendons the median nerve can be compressed resulting in numbness, weakness, or occasionally pain in the hand and wrist, or in the arm and forearm.
Symptoms often build over time presenting as frequent burning, tingling, or itching numbness in the palm of the hand and the fingers, especially the thumb and the index and middle fingers. Many people with CTS say their fingers feel useless and swollen although little or no swelling is obvious.
Because many people sleep with flexed wrists, symptoms often first appear in one or both hands during the night. CTS sufferers often wake up feeling the need to shake out the hand or wrist. Eventually the symptoms begin occurring during the day when tingling, the inability to discern hot from cold by touch, and decreased grip strength inhibit the performance of simple everyday activities involving the hands. It is important to seek good and effective treatment for CTS since the muscles at the base of the thumb may waste away if CTS is left untreated.
Carpal tunnel syndrome is often the result of a combination of factors that reduce the available space for the median nerve to travel within the carpal tunnel rather than a problem with the nerve itself. These may be caused by swelling from injuries such as sprain, fracture, or scar tissue buildup.
Restriction or compression in the carpal tunnel may also be caused by mechanical issues in the wrist joint, work stress in people who use their hands for very active manual labor and repetitive use of vibrating hand tools although research has not conclusively shown that adjustments in the workplace actually prevent the occurrence of carpal tunnel syndrome. CTS may also be caused by fluid retention in the tunnel during pregnancy or menopause or the development of a cyst or tumor in the canal. It is often difficult to identify one single cause of CTS.
CTS is usually exclusive to adults. Women happen to be three times more likely to develop CTS than men which may be because the carpal tunnel itself is smaller in women. The dominant hand is usually the hand and wrist affected first and manifesting the most severe pain.
People with diabetes or other metabolic disorders directly affecting the body's nerves and causing more susceptibility to compression in the carpal tunnel are also at high risk.
We treat CTS with very effective chiropractic adjustments of the lunate bone(3) in the wrist followed by Class III or Class IV laser treatments once per week over four to six weeks. At Wagner Chiropractic we believe in trying a non-invasive conservative treatment plan for carpal tunnel syndrome. If symptoms persist we we will refer you out to an orthopedist. Often, if dealt with at the beginning of the problem, there is a better chance of recovery. Call us today and begin your conservative program of care.
disease or dysfunction of one or more peripheral nerves, typically causing numbness or weakness.
a nerve in the upper limb (arm); the only one that passes through the carpal tunnel
a crescent-shaped carpal bone situated in the center of the wrist and articulating with the radius