Chiropractic is a great treatment for Carpal Tunnel.
Posted Jun 30 2010 4:36am
Waking up in the middle of the night with numbness in the hands can be as innocuous as poor sleep position. If it continues night after night and resolves after shaking the hands it could be a condition called Carpal Tunnel Syndrome. And if the discomfort is primarily in the thumb, index and middle finger and a half of the ring finger length wise, it becomes more probable that the Median Nerve which passes through the wrist is compressed.
Anyone who has worked on a computer for many hours day after day run the risk of developing wrist pain and hand tingling. Poor ergonomics at the work station or doing any activity which results in abnormal wrist position for long periods may develop swelling in the channel formed by the wrist (carpal) bones. Pregnant women who are retaining a lot of fluid can develop hand pain. And of course, close to my heart, Chiropractors who use their hands all day are prone to this condition. However not all wrist or hand pain is Carpal Tunnel Syndrome. The Median Nerve, which starts in the neck, can be pinched anywhere along its course as it travels down the arm to the fingers. Pressure in the neck, shoulder, elbow and of course the wrist can cause many of the symptoms associated with Carpal Tunnel.
Proper diagnosis is essential in the proper treatment of this condition. Your doctor will recommend a test called a Nerve Conduction Study to determine precisely where the nerve is compressed Assuming that the nerve is compressed at the wrist when it is really compressed at the elbow will result in unnecessary treatment to the wrong area. Early diagnosis will allow conservative treatment to be successful thus avoiding surgery to release the pressure in the area involved. Surgery involves cutting the tissue that forms the floor of the tunnel, thus decreasing the compression. Your primary doctor may also give you anti-inflammatory drugs to stop the swelling. These may help, but remember the possible side effects.
Alternative treatments include bracing the involved wrist especially at night. This will allow the swelling to resolve and decrease the pain. But it is essential to determine why the problem occurred in the first place. Ergonomic evaluation of your work station is important. Manipulation of the wrist by a chiropractor is very helpful to make sure the carpal bones are aligned properly. This will decrease any mechanical pressure to the area. Remember that Chiropractors are trained to adjust the wrists as well as the spine.
Another treatment that I have found very helpful in my office is Cold Laser therapy. As mentioned in previous columns, this light energy therapy penetrates about ½ inch into the tissue and is absorbed by the cells. It stimulates the cells to speed up healing. It is FDA approved for treatment of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome and is very beneficial and non-invasive.
Again, early diagnosis is important for proper treatment whether surgical, conservative or alternative. Discuss with your doctor the latest ideas in treatment of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome.