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Carpal Tunnel Syndrome: Chiropractic vs. Traditonal Medical Care

The differences between chiropractic care and traditional medical treatment are vast when it comes to strategies for curing carpal tunnel syndrome. 

Carpal tunnel syndrome is a disorder that affects the hands and wrists of many working Americans and is caused by receptive use of the hands, especially if one types for hours on a computer keyboard. Signs that carpal syndrome is developing include feelings of tingling and numbness along a nerve that runs through the wrist and hand known as the median nerve.

As the condition develops sensations of dullness or non-specific pain begin to make themselves felt in the hands. Furthermore, the hands may being to “fall asleep” or grow completely numb in the early morning when waking up from a long night’s sleep, and require massaging to get through painful tingling in order to work them back into mobility.

If the condition becomes more serious, also known as acute carpal tunnel syndrome, a rapid onset of the above symptoms may begin occurring in intervals within hours of each other. If the condition worsens symptoms may begin to spread up the arms all the way to the shoulders. Further development begins to affect the muscles of the thumbs which become weak so that the hand has difficulty gripping objects likes glasses and cups. The final stages of the disorder cause atrophy of the muscles in the thumbs, or shrinkage. 

The traditional medical approach to treating carpal tunnel syndrome ultimately turns to invasive methods of surgery as a solution. This involves cutting open the hands to access the transverse carpal ligament so that this can also be cut. The goal is to reduce pressure on the medial nerve. Even after surgery, however, the symptoms may continue.

The chiropractic approach is very different and takes a more rehabiliative strategy. A chiropractor has been trained to know that if the hands are showing signs of pain or tingling that the first place to look is the neck, where the cervical spine is located. This is because the region of the cervical spine in the neck is where the nerves that ultimately end in the hands have their beginning. By making adjustments to the cervical spine by manipulating the neck, a chiropractor can relieve the pressure on the nerves running down into the hands. This reduces irritation or even removes it completely so that the body can begin to heal itself by allowing nerve force to flow freely without obstruction. 

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Used under Creative Commons Licensing courtesy of Erin Stoodley

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