Carpal Tunnel Syndrome (CTS) is not a new malady. As far back as men and women have used their hands and fingers in repetitive motions, they have suffered from an overuse injury we now call carpal tunnel syndrome.
CTS A COSTLY AND PAINFUL AFFLICTION
In recent years, however, the magnitude of the CTS problem has increased tremendously due to the proliferation of assembly line jobs and computer keyboard operations requiring repetitive wrist, hand, and finger operations. The total annual cost of CTS nationwide, including time lost from work, now exceeds an estimated $51 billion … not to mention the human suffering CTS inflicts. Clearly something must be done.
CTS get its name from a narrow tunnel in the wrist formed on three sides by the carpal (wrist) bones and on the fourth side by a strong ligament. Blood vessels, tendons, and the median nerve pass through the tunnel on their way to the hands and fingers.
Trouble starts when repetitive wrist, hand, and finger motions – hour after hour, day after day – aggravate, inflame, swell, and eventually break down soft tissues in the carpal tunnel. Also such repetitive activities can lead to misaligned and fixated wrist bones, thereby further compressing the median nerve as it passes through the tunnel. These derangements can be seen on X-ray and MRI. While often there are other contributing causes such as obesity, diabetes, and a poorly-healed fracture, to name a few, it is the derangement of carpal bones and the inflammation and swelling of the tunnel’s soft tissues which most often express themselves in the wrists, hands, and fingers – through pain, numbness, weakness, tingling, burning, and difficulty in opening and closing the hands.
PERMANENT DAMAGE POSSIBLE
What’s worse, the median nerve can be damaged by the constant pressure and, even with treatment, it regenerates slowly if at all. That’s why early diagnosis and treatment is all important.
Chiropractic doctors have developed a variety of special techniques for the treatment of CTS, including motorized wrist traction, ultrasound, interferential therapy, diathermy, cryotherapy, infratonic therapy, and manipulation of the wrist bones.
MISALIGNED JOINTS IN NECK
Because the involved nerves travel from the spine down the arm to the hand, in some cases carpal tunnel symptoms can be traced to mis-alignments of the wrist, elbow, shoulder, or neck joints.
Being highly trained in the manipulation of the spine and extremities, many chiropractors apply specific manipulative procedures and techniques which help restore the proper alignment and motion of misaligned joints whether in the wrist, elbow, shoulder, or neck.
HELPS AVOID SURGERY
Those chiropractic methods help reduce pressure and inflammation in the carpal tunnel which often produces dramatic improvement and helps circumvent the need for surgery.
Even those who have had multiple carpal tunnel surgeries can sometimes be helped.
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