Are you among the 5 million adults in the U.S. who suffer from carpal tunnel syndrome, also called CTS? If so, you’re probably surprised that many people either don’t know what it is or dismiss it as a minor physical problem. And if you do have CTS, you’ve probably wondered about how to get help. Should you opt for surgery, drugs, or other, more effective treatments that entail much less risk and expense? Another question that perplexes those who live with the daily pain and discomfort of the syndrome is this: “How do I know I have CTS and not some other condition?”
Not only is carpal tunnel the single most frequent medical condition that afflicts the hands, it is also a very serious malady that typically brings numbness, muscle weakness, significant pain, and sometimes total inability to use the wrists or hands affected. Unfortunately, many people who find out they have CTS after a medical diagnosis begin to panic; they turn to the first remedy offered or the only one they’ve heard of: surgery. Sadly, they often ignore more effective, safer, less costly strategies like chiropractic treatment, lifestyle alterations, exercise, stretching, nutritional approaches, and other remedies.
If you speak with your chiropractor about CTS, you’ll be able to find out for sure whether or not your hand-related pain is indeed carpal tunnel. Even better than that, you will not have to worry about the side-effects and possible long-term damage that risky surgery and drug treatments can cause.
Chiropractors explain to their patients that CTS is both common and treatable. It usually shows itself in the form of weakness, a tingling sensation, intermittent pain, and varying degrees of numbness in the wrists and hands. The basic cause is too much pressure on the wrist’s median nerve, which directly supplies “feeling” to most parts of the wrist and hand, but not to the smallest finger.
What should you know about carpal tunnel syndrome? The first step is to understand who gets it and why. Then, after you learn about the most common symptoms, it’s wise to investigate treatment methods and see why surgery is almost never a smart option. If you think you have CTS, the first order of business is a visit to the chiropractors so you can get the straight facts and receive the right kind of treatment and therapy.
Who Gets Carpal Tunnel Syndrome?
Millions of adults get carpal tunnel syndrome every year, but who are they and what kinds of lives do they lead? One of the largest groups affected includes working adults who do anything from general office tasks to heavy labor, like construction jobs. CTS is responsible for more missed work hours than any other injury. That’s just one reason so many people seek relief; they want to continue working and earning a living.
But no one is off the hook because CTS does happen to people who don’t work at all, young adults, retired folks, sports professionals, and many others. However, it’s important to know that the risk does increase as you get older and people under the age of 21 rarely suffer from CTS. Additionally, women appear to be at a greater risk of developing carpal tunnel, possibly due to the fact that they tend to have less protective tissue in their wrists than men have.
Are You At Risk For CTS?
If your job involves lots of physical repetition, particularly of the hands, wrists, fingers, and arms, you are probably at a higher risk of developing carpal tunnel than others. For example, if you work with tools, instruments, or devices that require extreme motions of the wrist, that vibrate while you use them, or are so-called “high-impact” instruments like jack hammers, then you are certainly in a higher-than-normal risk category.
But it’s not just about your job. There are other factors that come into play. You might be more likely to get CTS based on one or more of the following:
- Being pregnant
- Having a dislocated or fractured wrist
- Hereditary factors
- Suffering from alcoholism
- Having diabetes
- Being over 40
- Having amyloid protein deposits in the wrist area
- Having gout or rheumatoid arthritis
- Having hypothyroidism
How Chiropractic Treatment Brings Relief for CTS
Chiropractic care is an effective way to treat CTS without surgery or drugs. How does it work? Chiropractors, after giving a full physical exam, can adjust the neck and/or wrist in order to realign the tiny bones that often place pressure on the nerve when they are out of place. Sometimes, pressure on the nerves can be lessened with a simple wrist adjustment.
Another tool in the chiropractor’s box is laser therapy. It has the potential to cut down on inflammation directly, reduce scarring, lessen pain, eliminate numbness, get rid of swelling, and heal the tissue. One of the main goals for any CTS patient should be to get treatment as early as possible. Your chiropractor can examine your arms, hands, neck, and shoulders to find out whether you have CTS or something else. The doctor will also be able to tell you whether your job or other activities are contributing to the condition.
Some therapy programs involve immobilizing the affected wrist and hand so that the entire area can get complete rest. Additionally, you might need to use cold packs in order to lessen inflammation and swelling. The chiropractor might also employ mobilization of soft tissue, prescribe exercises that strengthen and stretch the tissue, adjust the joints, or perform physical therapy.
Most CTS treatments at a chiropractor’s office begin with a full exam and medical history. Then the doctor closely examines the entire spine and performs adjustments as necessary. The entire approach involves no drugs or surgery, only natural healing methods. Most of the time, patients do not get carpal tunnel again after they undergo chiropractic treatment. Plus, recovery typically takes place soon after treatment.
The Risks of Surgery
As noted above, surgery should not be one of your first lines of defense against CTS. In fact, there’s really no reason to view surgery as a primary remedy for medical problems. In nearly every situation, a surgical procedure is a last resort when nothing else works. For something like CTS, for which chiropractic treatment can bring relief, opting for risky surgical interventions can cost you your long-term health and possibly the use of your hands.
What are the specific risks that come with surgery? They include some or all of the following:
- Adverse reactions to most kinds of anesthesia
- Strokes that result from blood clots
- A high risk of infection
- The potential loss of some or all of your grip strength, permanently
- Heart attacks
- Decline in, or total loss of, hand and wrist motor skills and dexterity
- Rehab times that often last as long as a year
- Post-surgical scar tissue
- Nerve damage if surgical instruments impact the nerves during the procedure
- The chance you’ll need multiple surgeries to reduce resultant scar tissue
Unfortunately, even if all goes well during CTS surgery, the success rates are often no higher than 60 percent. What’s worse, more than 80 percent of patients who are lucky enough to have a positive outcome from surgery end up with a recurrence of CTS anywhere from six months to seven years later.
Get Carpal Tunnel Relief ASAP
If you’re ready to get help for pain or numbness problems in the hands or wrists, remember that procrastination can cause carpal tunnel to get worse. If left untreated for a long period of time, it’s possible that might suffer permanent nerve damage and the inability to use your hands, fingers, or wrists. Even if you only suspect that there is something wrong, get it checked out with a chiropractor as soon as possible.
When you get a complete checkup from a chiropractic physician, you’ll be able to rest assured that you get the appropriate treatment for CTS or whatever is causing your symptoms. Treatment can begin immediately and you’ll be on the road to complete physical health from the moment you visit the doctor.
At Delaware Integrative Healthcare, we always explain each step of the process to our patients. Our philosophy is based on the core principles of chiropractic medicine. That means no drugs, no surgery, no invasive methods at all. This natural form of healthcare allows your body to heal in a completely natural way.
Feel free to contact any of our three offices if you have any questions about your condition or to schedule an appointment. There’s no better way to deal with carpal tunnel syndrome and get relief for the pain and discomfort. Our approach is patient-centered and focuses on letting you live a pain-free life without reliance on medication or surgery.
We look forward to hearing from you. Our office phone numbers are: Middletown 302-376-5830, Dover 302-744-8650, Milford 302-503-7767. Don’t let carpal tunnel syndrome interfere with your life. Get help today.