Specific Health Concern >> Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
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In this video, Dr. Huntoon discusses what you need to consider BEFORE having Carpal Tunnel Surgery.
Your doctor will not discuss with you the consequences of having the surgery and what you may have to live with if you have the surgery.
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- Clumsiness of the hand when gripping objects
- Numbness or tingling in the thumb and next two or three fingers of one or both hands
- Numbness or tingling of the palm of the hand
- Pain extending to the elbow
- Pain in the wrist or hand in one or both hands
- Problems with fine finger movements (coordination) in one or both hands
- Wasting away of the muscle under the thumb (in advanced or long-term cases)
- Weak grip or difficulty carrying bags (a common complaint)
- Weakness in one or both hands
The median nerve provides feeling and movement to the "thumb side" of the hand (the palm, thumb, index finger, middle finger, and thumb side of the ring finger).
The area in your wrist where the nerve enters the hand is called the carpal tunnel. This tunnel is normally narrow, so any swelling can pinch the nerve and cause pain, numbness, tingling or weakness. This is called Carpal Tunnel Syndrome.
Carpal tunnel syndrome is common in people who perform repetitive motions of the hand and wrist. Typing on a computer keyboard is probably the most common cause of carpal tunnel. Other causes include:
- Playing some musical instruments
- Playing sports such as racquetball or handball
- Using tools (especially hand tools or tools that vibrate)
- Working on an assembly line
The condition occurs most often in people 30 to 60 years old, and is more common in women than men.
A number of medical problems are associated with carpal tunnel syndrome, including:
- Bone fractures and arthritis of the wrist
- Kidney failure and dialysis
- Rheumatoid arthritis
- Systemic Lupus Erythematosus (SLE)
Medications used in the treatment of carpal tunnel syndrome include nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) such as ibuprofen or naproxen. Corticosteroid injections, given into the carpal tunnel area, may relieve symptoms for a period of time.
Carpal tunnel release is a surgical procedure that cuts into the ligament that is pressing on the nerve. Surgery is successful most of the time, but it depends on how long the nerve compression has been occurring and its severity. Be mindful that there is the possibility of scar tissue causing the Carpal Tunnel symptoms to return after several months after surgery. Many times the surgeon will fail to mention this when discussing the outcome of surgery.
Symptoms often improve with conservative treatment, and about 50% of cases may eventually require surgery. Surgery can be successful, but full healing can take months.
If the condition is treated properly, there are usually no complications. If untreated, the nerve can be damaged, causing permanent weakness, numbness, and tingling. Surgical complications include loss of feeling in the hand and fingers, loss of movement in the fingers, and a loss of grip strength.
Conservative Treatment First
Working with a Chiropractor who specializes in extremity adjustments should be your first choice before trying anything else. Appreciate the underlying cause is one or more of your carpal bones in your wrist has moved out of its normal position thereby creating pressure on the Median nerve. These Specialized Holistic Chiropractors will adjust the bone(s) back to their normal position and will offer some supportive supplements that help to reduce the inflammation and help heal the ligaments that support the area.
You may try wearing a splint at night for several weeks. If this does not help, you may need to try wearing the splint during the day. Avoid sleeping on your wrists. Cold compresses may also be recommended.
There are many changes you can make in the workplace to reduce the stress on your wrist:
Special devices include keyboards, different types of computer mouse, cushioned mouse pads, and keyboard drawers.
Someone should review the position you are in when performing your work activities.
For example, make sure the keyboard is low enough so that your wrists aren't bent upward while typing. Your health care provider may suggest an occupational therapist.
You may also need to make changes in your work duties or recreational activities. Some of the jobs associated with carpal tunnel syndrome include those that involve typing and vibrating tools. Carpal tunnel syndrome has also been linked to professional musicians.
Treatment with an Acupuncturist, Homeopath or Naturopath has also shown great results for Carpal Tunnel Syndrome.
Calling your health care provider
Call for an appointment with your Holistic Chiropractor if:
- You have symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome
- Your symptoms do not respond to medical treatment, such as rest and anti-inflammatory medications, or if there seems to be a loss of muscle in your fingers
Medicines Two Choices for You
Signs and tests
During a physical examination, the health care provider may find:
- Numbness in the palm, thumb, index finger, middle finger, and thumb side of the ring finger
- Weak hand grip
- Tapping over the median nerve at the wrist may cause pain to shoot from the wrist to the hand (this is called Tinel's sign)
- Bending the wrist forward all the way for 60 seconds will usually result in numbness, tingling, or weakness (this is called Phalen's test)
Tests may include:
- Electromyography (EMG)
- Nerve conduction velocity (NCV)
- Wrist x-rays should be done to rule out other problems (such as wrist arthritis)
Working with your Holistic Chiropractor who can help to keep your body, joints and tendons in a healthy working state is important. Discussing different prevention tips is warranted if your job or life requires the repetitive wrist movements and how to best reduce wrist inflammation. Avoid or reduce the number of repetitive wrist movements whenever possible. Use tools and equipment that are properly designed to reduce the risk of wrist injury. Ergonomic aids, such as split keyboards, keyboard trays, typing pads, and wrist braces, may be used to improve wrist posture during typing. Take frequent breaks when typing and always stop if there is tingling or pain.
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