Tingling in your fingers and hands. Numbness. A feeling of weakness. Though the symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome usually start gradually, the impact of this common condition can be quite bothersome. Additionally, the long-term effects can be serious when left untreated, including permanent nerve damage. In short, carpal tunnel syndrome is not a condition to take lightly.
The good news? A carpal tunnel diagnosis does not automatically mean surgery. There are several conservative care options that provide effective treatment alternatives. But to understand your options, you must first understand your condition.
What Causes Carpal Tunnel Syndrome?
Allow us to get technical for a minute. Carpal tunnel syndrome happens when there is pressure put on the median nerve, a nerve that runs through a passageway, aka the carpal tunnel, from your forearm, wrist, and finally to your hand. It’s responsible for giving sensation to your palm and all of your fingers with the exception of your pinky. It is also responsible for the motor function of your thumb. That’s a lot of work for one nerve!
When the passageway, the carpal tunnel, that this nerve operates through becomes squeezed or irritated, this can lead to the tingling, numbness, and weakness that characterizes carpal tunnel syndrome.
Risk Factors Of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
While there are many lifestyle factors that can make you more prone to carpal tunnel syndrome, one extremely common source is our daily work. Those who use a computer for most of the day may be at a higher risk for this condition, as well as those who work with an assembly line, or with vibrating tools, frequently found on a construction site. These tiny, repetitive movements can challenge the narrow passageway of the carpal tunnel and easily inflame the median nerve that runs through it.
Additionally, if you have experienced a previous wrist fracture, have arthritis, struggle with obesity, or are managing other inflammatory conditions, unfortunately, you are also a probable candidate for this injury.
Preventing And Treating Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
If you’re suffering from carpal tunnel syndrome, we have good news for you! There are some great conservative care options for treating and overcoming this condition. Some of the more common practices providing patients relief include:
- An anti-inflammatory diet: while your body normally uses inflammation to fight illness, shifting to an anti-inflammatory diet can minimize the symptoms of chronic inflammatory conditions, such as carpal tunnel syndrome.
- Short, frequent stretch breaks: this one is helpful for both the prevention of carpal tunnel as well as assisting in your recovery– and we’re not talking serious workout here. Overall, the goal is to relax your grip and pay attention to good form and posture. This can help prevent the amount of force that you put through your forearms and wrists.
- Ice packs on inflamed areas : self-explanatory, but helpful in soothing irritation in your wrists and hands.
- Wrist splints : immobilizing your wrist helps to hold your wrist still and allows the carpal tunnel to begin healing, without constant pressure on the nerve.
We can’t stress this enough: as soon as you begin feeling symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome, seek help, and begin treatment immediately! The permanent nerve damage that can result from forgoing treatment simply isn’t worth jeopardizing your overall well-being.
Chiropractic Treatment for Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
Have you tried at-home care, and it just isn’t providing sufficient relief? Maybe you’re experiencing more intense pain on a more frequent basis or simply want a more proactive approach all together toward carpal tunnel syndrome. If any of these describe your current situation, it’s time to seek professional help.
Chiropractic care can provide the relief you are seeking. Gentle, chiropractic adjustments of the spine, elbow and wrist help to alleviate pressure in your joints, decrease inflammation and allow your entire body to function better. Plus, your chiropractor can recommend the best at-home exercises to keep your healing on track outside of the office.