Chiropractic Care for Carpal Tunnel
Our Columbia Falls, Kalispell, and Whitefish chiropractic offices can help treat your carpal tunnel syndrome.
Do you ever experience:
- Numbness, tingling, or an itching sensation in the palm of your hand
- Shock-like feelings that radiate into your fingers
- Does your hand feel weak and clumsy
A google search of any of those symptoms would pull up 10+ pages of articles and blogs about carpal tunnel syndrome. Unfortunately, several other conditions produce nearly identical symptoms, which leads to frequent misdiagnosis.
What is carpal tunnel syndrome (a.k.a. CTS)?
Your median nerve runs down your arm, through your wrist, and ends in the palm of your hand, where it gives innervation (sensation + muscle control) to your palm, thumb, index, and middle finger.
While going through the wrist, the nerve travels through a bony channel known as the “carpal tunnel.”
Irritation of the nerve where it passes through the carpal tunnel results in the sensory & motor changes mentioned previously.
Carpal tunnel syndrome is the most common nerve entrapment reported in the general population.
Who gets carpal tunnel syndrome?
- Women are 2 to 3 times more likely to develop carpal tunnel syndrome than men.
- The peak incidence age for carpal tunnel syndrome is 45-60 years of age
- People working in occupations requiring repetitive grasping & wrist movements (construction workers, carpenters, assembly line workers)
- Occupational work that involves long periods of prolonged wrist flexion or extension (desk jobs, driving)
- Individuals with diabetes, thyroid disorders, and rheumatoid arthritis are at higher risk of developing carpal tunnel syndrome
- Pregnant females are also more prone to developing carpal tunnel syndrome due to fluid retention associated with hormone fluctuation during the pregnancy process
Signs and symptoms unique to carpal tunnel syndrome
Worsening of symptoms at night/nocturnal pain: a high percentage of carpal tunnel syndrome patients report being woken up by worsening their symptoms at night or when waking in the morning.
Skin and tissue covering an entrapped nerve are typically sensitive and tender: if there is truly nerve compression at the carpal tunnel, the tissue on the palm side is likely to be tender. Compressing this area for 30 seconds (carpal compression test) showed to be extremely accurate in identifying patients with true carpal tunnel syndrome.
Shaking out the hands: a relatively high percentage of patients with true carpal tunnel syndrome report relief of symptoms by shaking their hands. If shaking your hand relieves your symptoms, this adds to the case of carpal tunnel syndrome.
It is important to identify whether your symptoms are truly coming from compression of the median nerve at the carpal tunnel or one of the other previously mentioned conditions because although they have similar symptoms, they have different causes and require distinct treatment strategies.
This is why we always start off with a detailed assessment so we can figure out exactly what is causing your symptoms and make a care plan tailored to your specific needs.
How is carpal tunnel syndrome treated at Whitefish Chiropractic Center?
Soft tissue manipulation:
Ttight/overactive musculature along the path of the median nerve often plays a role in the development of carpal tunnel syndrome.
We utilize various soft tissue tools such as Active Release Technique, Graston, and Dry Needling to relieve excessive muscle tension reducing compression on the nerve and giving it space to glide along its trail.
Patients suffering from carpal tunnel syndrome often have joint restrictions in the small bones of the hand and wrist contributing to their symptoms. Adjusting these restricted areas and restricted segments in the cervical spine have proven to be beneficial in the treatment of carpal tunnel syndrome.
Carpal tunnel syndrome patients typically demonstrate impaired median nerve mobility along its trail. Once the joints are freely moveable and soft tissue tension along the nerve path has been normalized, nerve mobilization techniques have been shown to reduce symptom severity and lead to long-term relief.
Advice + Home care:
Based on your specific situation, we may give you tips to make your workstation setup more ergonomically friendly, things to temporarily avoid while on the road to recovery, and advice on potentially helpful devices like wrist braces to keep you out of provocative positions while sleeping.
You’ll also leave our clinic with a packet including a description of your condition + home care stretches and exercises to perform between treatments to get you out of pain as fast as possible!
Let us help you get out of pain and back to doing what you love!
Carpal tunnel syndrome often begins as a minor annoyance that can be relieved by simply shaking the hand, but if left untreated, symptoms may worsen. They can even result in permanent neurologic damage.
Conservative treatment of carpal tunnel syndrome is often successful, especially when using the techniques utilized by the chiropractors and Whitefish Chiropractic, so give us a call at 406-862-2121 or follow this link to book an appointment today!