Carpal tunnel syndrome [CTS] is believed to affect as many as 10 million adults in the United States and is considered one of the most common nerve disorders, according to The American College of Rheumatology. Our carpal tunnel doctor at Hoewisch Family Chiropractic can evaluate your hand and wrist pain to determine if you have carpal tunnel and recommend non-invasive treatments to help reduce your symptoms and restore your hand function.
1. What is carpal tunnel syndrome?
Carpal tunnel syndrome is an inflammation or compression of the median nerve, which runs from the forearm into the hand through the carpal tunnel, which is a narrow passageway of ligaments, bones and tendons. The median nerve is responsible for providing feeling to the palm side of the thumb and the first three fingers, but not the pinky finger. Individuals with carpal tunnel syndrome often have pain in their wrists and hands, especially when performing tasks that require fine motor skills.
2. What are the common causes of carpal tunnel syndrome?
Carpal tunnel syndrome can be caused by a variety of conditions and injuries, including sprains and strains of the wrist, previous wrist fractures, misalignment of the bones in the wrist and inflammation of the soft tissues in the carpal tunnel or the median nerve. The inflammation can also come from repetitive motion, such as typing for too long,during which the hand is always and repeatedly turned down. CTS can also be due to pushing objects with the wrist bent backwards in extension. Repeatedly pushing things this way will drive one of the wrist bones between the two forearm bones (the radius and ulna) which then narrows the carpal tunnel. Individuals with rheumatoid arthritis may also develop symptoms of carpal tunnel, and individuals who are pregnant or postmenopausal and retaining fluid may be at a higher risk of developing carpal tunnel syndrome.
3. What conditions, careers and activities increase the risk of developing carpal tunnel syndrome?
Certain recreational activities, careers and hobbies can lead to the development of carpal tunnel syndrome, especially if your activities involve using fine motor skills, like twisting a wrench or screwdriver, typing or using tools that vibrate, like jackhammers and chainsaws. Computer operators, individuals who work on an assembly line, gardeners, electricians and plumbers are all at an increased risk of developing carpal tunnel syndrome. Other high-risk groups include individuals with diabetes, nerve disorders and metabolic conditions, and women seem to be more at risk than men due to having smaller carpal tunnels.
4. What happens if I do not get treatment for my carpal tunnel syndrome?
Carpal tunnel syndrome does not tend to heal on its own. Instead, the pain, numbness and burning tend to increase with time. Some individuals even experience pain and burning up their arms. If the carpal tunnel is not treated by our carpal tunnel doctor, it can result in the loss of hand strength and muscle wasting at the base of the thumb. Individuals with carpal tunnel syndrome may also experience an increase in pain at night and in the morning when first waking.
5. How can your Santa Clara chiropractor help with my carpal tunnel syndrome symptoms?
Our Santa Clara chiropractor can help with your carpal tunnel symptoms by evaluating your hands, wrists, forearms, shoulders and neck in addition to having you perform a few tests to replicate the symptoms. Oddly enough, the wrist and hand symptoms could be coming from the neck, shoulder, elbow or forearms. If these areas are contributing to the CTS, then addressing these areas will ensure a more complete recovery.
If you do have carpal tunnel syndrome, our chiropractor will recommend a treatment program to help reduce your pain and lower the inflammation in your wrist. Treatment options may include manual extremity joint adjustments to the wrists and KST adjustments. Manual adjustments help realign the bones in the wrist and reduce inflammation. KST adjustments involve checking and testing for imbalances and correcting those imbalances with an instrument adjusting device, which can be gentler and more comfortable than a manual adjustment. We may also recommend wearing braces to help stabilize the wrists and certain lifestyle adjustments, like taking more frequent breaks while working and avoiding certain high-risk tasks.
6. How many treatments with your chiropractor in Santa Clara will I need before I notice a significant reduction in my symptoms?
The exact number of treatments needed will depend on the severity of your symptoms. Many individuals notice relief after the first treatment, but you may need several treatments from our chiropractor in Santa Clara before you notice long-lasting relief. Our chiropractor can explain your treatment plan and the anticipated treatment length after your evaluation.
7. How do I schedule an appointment with your Santa Clara chiropractor at Hoewisch Family Chiropractic?
You can schedule a convenient appointment with our Santa Clara chiropractor at Hoewisch Family Chiropractic by calling us at (408) 985-8118.