CHIROPRACTOR FOR CARPAL TUNNEL SYNDROME
Chiropractor for carpal tunnel syndrome in Anchorage or Juneau: We Alaskans may be more active than those of other states, but it doesn’t mean we’re immune to carpal tunnel. In fact, any repetitive motion done with the hands, arms, or wrists can cause carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS). Luckily, there are ways to treat it naturally and effectively.
Chiropractors treat carpal tunnel syndrome by addressing the root of the problem. They do this in a number of safe, non-invasive ways. Chiropractic massage, stretching, ultrasound, cold therapy, and electrical treatment can all work wonders for painful carpal tunnel syndrome. Read on to find out how chiropractic treatment can help provide lifelong relief from CTS.
Does Chiropractic Care Actually Work for Carpal Tunnel Syndrome?
Before we dive into how exactly chiropractors treat carpal tunnel syndrome, it’s important to look at the evidence. It’s one thing for a chiropractor to simply say that it works and another for you to see evidence in the form of studies supporting that claim. As the best chiropractors only use evidence-based treatment programs, studies are important to the positive outcomes for any patient.
A Case Study
This case study published in the Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutics details the outcome of a 42-year-old woman with carpal tunnel syndrome. She had numbness, pain, and tingling in the right wrist, along with some other symptoms. An EMG test was also performed and confirmed the diagnosis of CTS.
The chiropractic doctor treated her three times a week for four weeks, performing adjustments to her right wrist, elbow, and her spine. She experienced relief and a return to function after 4 weeks of treatment.
Conservative Treatment of Carpal Tunnel
A randomized control trial published in 2006 in the International Journal of Clinical Practice, studied 28 patients who were split into three groups, each with slightly different conservative treatment protocols. The study lasted for 8 weeks, but it didn’t take that long for all three groups to experience improvement of their carpal tunnel syndrome symptoms.
But, a long-term follow-up found that the group treated with a combination of splinting, exercise, and ultrasound therapy had the highest patient satisfaction. This combination of different conservative treatments was found to be the most effective of the three in the long term.
A Follow-up Study
This follow-up study aimed to compare people who had received conservative treatment for carpal tunnel syndrome to those who had never experienced CTS. The patients were treated by chiropractors and then followed up six months later.
The authors found no significant difference in grip strength, pinch strength, and forearm movements than the control group who had never experienced CTS. There was also no significant difference in pain and distress scores among the two groups.
This study is interesting because it takes a look at the long-term effect of chiropractic care on those with carpal tunnel syndrome, comparing them to those with “healthy” wrists and arms. It’s conclusion is clear: conservative chiropractic care works for carpal tunnel syndrome.
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How Can a Chiropractor Help With Carpal Tunnel?
The type of chiropractic care you receive depends on the severity of the symptoms and how long you’ve been experiencing CTS. Most people seek chiropractic or other types of care only after they’ve tried things for themselves at home. If you haven’t already, we suggest you read up on natural remedies for carpal tunnel. You may find relief simply by doing exercises and lifestyle changes by yourself.
But, if you’ve already tried some natural remedies, it may be time to consider seeing a chiropractor for carpal tunnel syndrome. Other non-conservative options include steroid injections and surgery. Before considering these options it’s always best to try conservative treatments first, all of which chiropractors can provide. Let’s look at the common chiropractic treatment options for CTS.
Ultrasound is effective at reducing inflammation and is a safe and common treatment option for many ailments that chiropractors treat. Although it’s usually only one step in the treatment process, it can provide much-need relief from pain and other symptoms in the hand and wrist area.
2) Chiropractic Massage
A massage performed by a chiropractor can work wonders for carpal tunnel syndrome. Your chiropractor will usually focus on the hand, wrist, forearm, and upper arm area in order to reduce inflammation and lengthen the muscles that could be causing strain. This is also fantastic for relaxation and stress relief.
TENS stands for transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation. Like massage, it can help relieve pain and stimulate muscle movement, strength, and healing. A TENS machine sends low-voltage electrical signals to the skin, which can help muscles and joints anywhere in the body.
4) Cold Laser Therapy
This modality involves the use of low-level lasers to relieve pain and inflammation. It doesn’t hurt and there is no heat associated with CLS, as the name suggests. It also promotes healing by causing a physiological reaction during this safe laser treatment option.
5) Chiropractic Manipulation
As one of the studies detailed above showed, wrist adjustments as performed by a chiropractor can help to relieve carpal tunnel syndrome. These types of adjustments are excellent for reducing pressure on the nerve and improving mobility.
In some cases, the cause of the CTS may not even be in the wrist. Since the median nerve actually starts in the neck, a pinch anywhere along the path of the nerve may cause similar symptoms to CTS. For this reason, chiropractic manipulation in the neck, upper back, shoulder, and arm areas may be beneficial in treating the issues that cause CTS-like symptoms.
Physical Therapy or Chiropractor For Carpal Tunnel?
Physical therapy and chiropractic care are complementary practices for many ailments. This is no less true for carpal tunnel syndrome. In fact, combining some physical therapy modalities, such as ultrasound therapy, with chiropractic manipulations continues to be effective in treating carpal tunnel syndrome. This is why at Better Health Chiropractic's Juneau clinic we’ve been combining physical therapy, massage therapy, and chiropractic care under one roof for over 20 years!
You shouldn’t have to pick either physical therapy or chiropractic care for CTS. And at Better Health Chiropractic, you don’t have to! You get the care you need under one roof, for quick and convenient carpal tunnel relief.
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Conservative Care or Surgery for Carpal Tunnel Syndrome?
Despite all the evidence of safe and effective CTS relief through conservative treatment, surgery is still one of the most common treatments for CTS. Unfortunately, surgery often comes with complications that can end up making things worse instead of better.
One study titled “The Treatment of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome” discusses the use of surgery vs conservative care for carpal tunnel syndrome. In this study, the author notes that 8% of carpal tunnel surgeries have a negative outcome, where the patient is worse off than before the surgery. And while 8% doesn’t seem like a lot, when compared to the essentially nonexistent risk associated with conservative care, there’s really no reason to take the risk.
Of course, some patients for whom conservative treatments don’t work may need to have surgery. But it’s always best to try conservative treatments such as chiropractic care before considering surgery. For most, chiropractic care is effective for both short-term and long-term relief from carpal tunnel syndrome.
When you see a chiropractor about carpal tunnel, relieving the pain is only one consideration. They also want to eliminate future occurrences of CTS. This is why chiropractic treatment includes lifestyle tips, best practices, and exercises for you to do at home. These are all about providing more than just temporary relief. They’re about giving you sustainable, long-term relief.
- Hand and Wrist Exercises
- Your chiropractor will probably give you exercises to perform at home or work throughout the day. Certain stretches are proven to help CTS. These are generally simple movements that don’t require any special equipment and are easily done in just a few minutes at a time. Yoga has also been beneficial to those with CTS, as it promotes stretching and strengthening the hands and wrists.
- Posture and Workstation
- Believe it or not, but your posture can affect CTS. This is easy to understand once you know that the median nerve responsible for CTS begins in the neck. Therefore it’s important to keep your shoulders back, spine straight and supported, and your ears in line with your shoulders.
- Your workstation is also a big part of CTS, especially if you’re at a computer most of the day. In order to help prevent CTS, your computer screen should be at eye level and your keyboard/mouse should allow your wrists and forearms to stay level with the floor.
- Wrist Splint
- Finally, your chiropractor may recommend you wear a wrist splint at night. Many people unknowingly sleep with their wrists bent, which can exacerbate carpal tunnel syndrome. When you keep your wrists straight as you sleep, you’ll likely see a quick reduction in symptoms.
- Carpal Tunnel Syndrome After Pregnancy
- Swelling and fluid retention can cause CTS. Most of the time the symptoms go away on their own after the pregnancy, but, if you’re still having issues with CTS three or more months after the birth, talk to a chiropractor about your options. He or she may recommend several of the above options, depending on your pain, lifestyle, and other factors. You can also use ice and heat for a carpal tunnel at different times to provide relief until you can see a chiropractor.
Studies show that chiropractic care can not only provide short-term pain relief from carpal tunnel syndrome but also long-term relief so you can get back to your life. No more waking up with a numb hand at night. No more pain when you’re trying to work. No more tingling and discomfort. With chiropractic care at Better Health Chiropractic, you can experience safe and effective relief quickly and easily!
Contact us today for more information or to schedule your appointment.