Carpal Tunnel and Chiropractic Care
By Krista Elliott
My dad played the guitar for as long as I can remember. My childhood memories are punctuated by the riffs from "Day Tripper," "I Wanna Hold Your Hand," and other Beatles classics.
As he neared retirement, he was starting to have trouble playing. It started out with a bit of tingling. Then some numbness in his fingers. Dad figured it was just a sign of age, or maybe a side effect of his type 2 diabetes. But his glucose levels were fine, and the numbness and tingling got worse. Then finally, a diagnosis: Ccarpal tunnel syndrome.
This condition is caused by pressure on the median nerve that runs through a literal tunnel formed by the bones of your wrist. This tunnel of bones and ligaments is meant to protect these valuable nerves. And in most cases, it does. But in certain situations or wrist positions, the bones put pressure on the nerve. This is why carpal tunnel syndrome is often found in people who make repetitive hand movements, especially if the wrists are not kept straight. Maintenance people who work with tools and office workers who spend a lot of time typing are particularly at risk, as are pregnant people (due to increased fluid retention) and people with diabetes (due to their increased risk of nerve damage). As a longtime civil servant who spent a significant chunk of his day at a computer, as well as a diabetic AND a guitarist, Dad's diagnosis was not exactly surprising.
Clearing the Tunnel
Unfortunately, Dad's case was severe, requiring surgery. But if caught early, people with carpal tunnel syndrome can experience relief from their symptoms. And more importantly, they can prevent further nerve damage, preserving the function of the hand and fingers.
This early, conservative treatment has traditionally consisted of a combination of a wrist support or brace along with anti-inflammatory medication. This option works well, but can be a bit of a problem for people who are active and/or don't want to take any more medications than they absolutely have to.
Fortunately, another option exists. In two separate studies, chiropractic care was shown to produce "significant improvement" in areas like strength, range of motion, finger sensation, and overall function. How? By ensuring that the bones in the carpal tunnel are not subluxated, keeping the nerve tunnel as free and wide as it can possibly be.
As well, chiropractic has the benefit of treating the whole body instead of simply focusing on the area in question. In another study, patients with carpal tunnel syndrome reported also feeling pain in their upper arm, shoulder and neck. Because chiropractic care works to align the joints into their optimal position, the nerves that travel throughout the body, whether they're in the carpal tunnel or the spinal column, are free from impediment and pressure.
If you've been diagnosed with carpal tunnel syndrome, or if you want to help prevent it by having regular adjustments and optimally aligned joints, stop by The Joint Chiropractic today. You don't even need an appointment! Just make sure to discuss any unusual physical symptoms, no matter how small they seem, with your chiropractic professional and The Joint will do the rest. And that's music to everybody's ears.