Consulting with your chiropractor about carpal tunnel syndrome is critical for those individuals who believe they may have the condition. Carpal tunnel syndrome is estimated by the Rheumatology Research Foundation to impact anywhere from four to ten million Americans. While some individuals may correctly assess that the sensations of numbness, weakness, tingling, and pain are due to this syndrome, they may also mimic other conditions. To eliminate the guesswork in diagnosing and treating a possible case of carpal tunnel syndrome, it is key to visit a professional Kingwood chiropractor.
Why Consulting with Your Chiropractor About Carpal Tunnel Syndrome Is Important
Unfortunately, weakness, numbness, and tingling in the hand can be signs or symptoms of many different conditions, one of which is carpal tunnel syndrome. For this reason, consulting with your chiropractor about carpal tunnel syndrome is important.
In addition to ensuring the diagnosis of this syndrome is indeed correct, identifying and addressing it early may be instrumental in limiting or avoiding permanent damage to related muscles and nerves. Treatment may provide people afflicted with carpal tunnel a reprieve that allows them more confidence in their normal activities during the day, and help them develop better sleep patterns at night.
Common Symptoms of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
There are two primary symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome, and their development is typically gradual rather than immediate:
- Weakness. When associated with this condition, weakness is generally more noticeable and severe and can manifest itself as losing a grip on or dropping things via the hand.
- Tingling or numbness. In terms of carpal tunnel syndrome, tingling often precedes numbness and tends to be present in the hand, especially the fingers. In some cases, tingling may travel toward the elbow.
Researchers are still working to establish a baseline for potential risks or causes of a person developing carpal tunnel syndrome.
How Carpal Tunnel Syndrome Works
Most people experience the symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome due to the compression of the median nerve, which travels through the wrist. This compression and potential nerve mobility may feel like pain, weakness, tingling, or numbness to a patient in their index and/or middle finger, thumb, and/or the inside of the ring finger.
By consulting with your chiropractor in Kingwood about carpal tunnel syndrome, they may be able to tell which nerves are specifically being affected. The median nerve may be the source of trouble for a patient who experience symptoms in the first three fingers and thumb. Another nerve named the ulnar could be the culprit if a person has symptoms in the far side of their ring finger and the adjacent pinky.
A reputable Kingwood chiropractor will explain the median nerve and how it works to help a patient make more sense of the symptoms they are experiencing. The median nerve is not only located in the wrist—it stretches from the neck to the shoulder, and then down the arm. If the nerve is compressed anywhere along these paths, it may create symptoms such as pain, weakness, tingling or numbness in the hand and/or wrist.
It may even be possible for median nerve compression to take place in multiple locations, sometimes labeled as double- or multi-crush syndrome. In cases like these, it can make the nerve both hypersensitized as well as more prone to injury or damage.
How A Kingwood Chiropractor May Address Your Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
One of the most important parts of consulting with your chiropractor about carpal tunnel syndrome is the information you as a patient can provide. During your initial visit it is imperative that you describe your medical and physical history with detail, including current symptoms as well as past injuries and symptoms.
After listening to a patient describe the pain or discomfort they are having, how long they have been experiencing it, and to what degree, the chiropractor should perform an initial physical examination based on that information.
If after these steps a chiropractor determines that the median nerve may be entrapped, they should be thorough in assessing the full pathway from the neck down to the arm to look for any other potential issues. Depending on the contributing factors, symptoms, and patient history, treatment may vary. Some possibilities may include:
- Manual manipulation
- Nocturnal splinting
- Physical therapy or at home exercises
- Soft tissue work
- Workstation modifications
One or more of these solutions may help to reduce pressure on the median nerve, which can also increase its mobility.
Should it be determined by your chiropractor that a fluctuation in hormone levels may be responsible for tissue swelling adjacent to the median nerve, it may also be necessary to address the situation in tandem with a patient’s regular physician.
In most cases, a chiropractor will use an approach that does not include surgery or pain management medications. Instead, these healthcare professionals will use a multi-modal approach to minimize or alleviate symptoms that are bothering the patient.
Post treatment, there may some basic, commonsense steps that people can take to avoid having carpal tunnel syndrome develop again, including:
- Using less force when typing
- Relaxing the grip of your hand when writing something out by hand or coloring or painting
- Avoiding the dramatic bending of your wrists by keeping wrists level with the hand (this may require special tools or implements if you spend hours typing on a computer each day)
- Using a comfortable and ergonomic computer mouse to ensure the wrist is not strained
- Keeping your hands warm to delay the onset of stiffness or pain in the hand
- Ensuring that your posture has the shoulders straight and not rolled forward as that may compress nerves
- Taking regular short breaks to rest the hands and wrists from the position they have previously been in
While these tactics are not guaranteed to stave off carpal tunnel syndrome, they will likely play a large role in delaying the onset or worsening of symptoms.
Consulting with your Kingwood chiropractor about carpal tunnel syndrome as soon as you begin experiencing symptoms is critical to efficient treatment. Symptoms that go unchecked can eventually cause greater nerve or muscle damage which can compound the problem significantly.