As many people have transitioned to a work-from-home situation over the last couple of years, your Rochester chiropractor has seen a spike in the number of repetitive strain injuries. A work-from-home setup typically doesn’t have all of the ergonomic features that a traditional office setting may offer. As a result, people are working in uncomfortable positions for many hours a day. Carpal tunnel syndrome is on the rise and many are unsure of what the best course of treatment is for this painful condition.
What is carpal tunnel syndrome?
The median nerve is responsible for around half of all sensation and muscle activity in the hand. The nerve starts in the shoulder where it branches off the brachial plexus. It then travels down the arm, the forearm, and enters the hand through the carpal tunnel. This tunnel is formed of the carpal bones in the wrist connected in a loop by the transverse carpal ligament. Carpal tunnel syndrome is when this tunnel begins to compress the median nerve. As the nerve is compressed, pain, numbness, or pins and needles can be felt in the palm of the hand as well as the thumb and index finger. In severe cases, grip strength can also be affected.
Common causes of carpal tunnel syndrome include repetitive wrist extension from work, exercise, or sports. There are many underlying conditions that have been shown to increase the risk of developing carpal tunnel syndrome. Arthritis, diabetes, thyroid dysfunction, uncontrolled blood pressure, or pregnancy are just some examples of conditions that can produce pressure in the carpal tunnel.
To surgery or not to surgery?
Many people jump to surgery as the first option for the treatment of carpal tunnel syndrome without any consideration of the risks. The surgical option tends to be thought of as a quick and easy fix. Even a quick Google search says that the success rate of carpal tunnel surgery is 90%. However, this figure is not entirely accurate.
Any surgery is considered successful if any relief is experienced by the patient. That is where the 90% success figure comes in. If you consider success to mean complete resolution of the symptoms, then those numbers are closer to around 40-60%. In about 20% of cases, patients reported mild to moderate relief and the last 10% found no relief at all. Half of those that found no relief actually had an increase in pain after the surgery.
The site of the incision can also become a new source of pain for post-surgery patients. This area can become more sensitive after surgery and some patients have found this new pain actually worse than the original carpal tunnel syndrome.
Consider chiropractic care before surgery
Surgery does have its place when more conservative treatments have been attempted. One type of conservative care that should be considered with carpal tunnel syndrome is your chiropractor in Rochester. If a patient is complaining about pain, numbness, or tingling in the hand, a chiropractor can do a proper exam to determine if the source is the carpal tunnel or any other place in the neck or arm where the median nerve can be compressed.
Once properly diagnosed, treatment will be focused on relieving pressure in the carpal tunnel. Adjustments and muscle work help relieve tension in the forearm and wrist to take the pressure off of the bones and ligaments of the wrist. Therapeutic modalities such as Class IV laser therapy can reduce any inflammation in the wrist that may be increasing carpal tunnel pressure. There are also exercises and stretches that can be prescribed specifically to open up the carpal tunnel and allow proper gliding of the median nerve through the tunnel.
If you have been diagnosed with carpal tunnel syndrome or are having any pain, numbness, or tingling in the hands and fingers, schedule an appointment with your chiropractor in Rochester. At Rush-Henrietta Family Chiropractic, our Rochester chiropractor has been well trained in diagnosing many conditions, including carpal tunnel syndrome, that produces pain and odd sensations in the fingers, hands, arms, or neck. Schedule an appointment and get relief from your carpal tunnel today.