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What is Carpel Tunnel?
Carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS) is pain and restriction in the wrist. The ligaments can become thickened and nerves trapped. CTS can be very painful. It can affect everyone, particularly people involved in occupations requiring repetitive use of the hands and wrists (i.e. office and skilled labour jobs). Medical doctors commonly prescribe anti-inflammatory drugs, which often prove ineffective long term. Common symptoms are - pains in the hands and fingers. These are often worse at night waking the patient up.
Carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS) is also known as 'The double crush syndrome' This is a compression of nerve tissue of two areas, one in the neck and also the nerve grouping called the Brachial Plexus. The other is in the wrist area. If the spinal nerve is "crushed" or irritated in the neck and shoulder region which "primes" more nerve damage or dysfunction in the hand region and this becomes known as the (second "crush").
Damage to a nerve (neuropathy) obviously brings with it a lot of pain. The next concern is 'how much' damage has occurred? If it has been a long term problem consider other alternatives before opting for surgery.
How chiropractors approach Carpel Tunnel
The hands and wrists are regulated and controlled by the spinal nerves that exit the lower neck. Nerve traffic moves back and forth at a 1000+ impulses a second. So with this level of activity is it any wonder that wrist become painful and ache? This is where the chiropractic approach has proved to be effective.
What Chiropractic Research shows
The double crush in nerve entrapment syndromes. (1) 67% to 75% of patients who experience carpal tunnel syndrome or ulnar neuropathy (nerve damage) also evidence spinal nerve root irritation (inflammation). Clinical commentary: pathogenesis of cumulative trauma disorders. (2)
This was a study of 64 patients diagnosed with repetitive stress disorders. Thirty four patients had wrist surgery. Of this group some patients experienced pains other than wrist pains/ discomfort. Most patients had multiple problems, especially muscle imbalance. The author of this article felt the high failure of surgical success made him reassess the causes of CTS. "Unnatural postures for extended periods creating pressure on the nerves in the neck, leading to neurological and other symptoms...even when extremity surgery improves the peripheral symptoms such as numbness in the hands, other associated problems like neck stiffness and shoulder pain persist." Note: Both of the regions- neck and wrist- need to be treated to achieve long lasting results.
Impaired axoplasmic transport and the double crush syndrome: food for chiropractic thought. (3)
The author writes: "Chiropractic has an extensive anecdotal history of patients being relieved of classic carpal tunnel symptoms with spinal adjustments and/or cervical tractioning only."
Spinal Manipulation, (4)
"Faulty innervation (nerve supply) caused by spinal joint lesions is one of the main factors in the production of carpal tunnel syndrome." p. 207.
Comparative efficacy of conservative medical and chiropractic treatments for carpal tunnel syndrome: a randomized clinical trial. (5)
This study showed that chiropractic was as effective as medical treatment in reducing symptoms of CTS. Chiropractic care included spinal adjustments, and in addition, ultrasound over the carpal tunnel and the use of night time wrist supports.
Double crush syndrome: a chiropractic/surgical approach to treatment. (6)
Seventy five patients received chiropractic and hand surgery/rehabilitation. It was concluded that these two approaches are complementary and can be effective in improving the lives and prognosis of patients.
Chiropractic can help
Chiropractic adjustments reduce the nerve, muscle, and ligament irritation. Pain is your bodies alarm system! It is a sign that something is wrong. Go to the source of the problemâ€¦No one will give you a medal for putting up with pain. Call our office if you wish to talk with us. We have helped many patients with this painful condition.
(1) Upton, ARM, McComas AJ. Lancet 2:329, 1973.
(2) MacKinnon S. Journal of Hand Surgery, Sept. 1994, 873-883.
(3) Czaplak S, Clinical Chiropractic Jan. 1993 p.8-9.
(4) 5th edition by Bourdillon JE, Day EA, Bookhout MR: Oxford, England, Butterworth-Heinemann Ltd, 1992:
(5) Davis PT, Hulbert JR, Kassak KM, et al. Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutics, June 1998, vol.21/no.5, pp317-26.
(6) Cramer SR, Cramer LM Dig of Chiropractic Economics Mar/April, 1991.
DISCLAIMER This information is provided for Educational Purposes Only and has NOT been designed to diagnose, treat or cure any health conditions. Please consult a qualified Health Care Professional to diagnose your health conditions and avoid self-diagnosis.