Health and Wellness Newsletter
Do I Have Carpal Tunnel Syndrome?
|Chiropractic Care and Musculoskeletal Pain
Many musculoskeletal problems, including symptoms masquerading as carpal tunnel syndrome, are effectively managed by chiropractic care. The key, as always, lies in accurate evaluation of the cause of the patient's pain patterns.
To a very large extent, physical pain involving the spine, arms, and legs is related to mechanical joint dysfunction. There are exceptions, of course, including pain caused by a severe acute injury or an inflammatory condition such as ankylosing spondylitis. But in most cases, chiropractic care will provide a solution to a person's musculoskeletal pain, resulting in a reduction or even a resolution of the problem.
It's important to remember that most painful symptoms don't just happen on their own. Your chiropractor will do more than address the problem at hand. He or she may also help you design an effective exercise program and a healthful nutrition plan to optimize your health and well-being over the long-term.
Many people believe they have carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS). The majority have been told by their medical doctor that they have CTS. Others have mistakenly concluded that because they have some numbness and tingling in their wrist or hand, they must have this neurological disorder. Still others have ongoing forearm, wrist, or hand pain (possibly localized to the thumb and/or index finger), and are led by articles they've read on the Internet to diagnose themselves with CTS. Almost all of this is in error.1,2
Why are so many diagnoses of this condition mistaken? The primary culprit is lazy clinical decision-making, compounded by a failure to understand correctly the workings of the musculoskeletal system. Carpal tunnel syndrome is a specific diagnosis which involves mechanical pressure on the median nerve as it passes through a small tunnel in the wrist created by tiny adjoining bones. There's not much room in this carpal tunnel and its dimensions can be narrowed further by inflammatory conditions such as osteoarthritis or rheumatoid arthritis. Pregnancy can lead to CTS owing to increased fluid retention. Repetitive stress may lead to inflammation of tendons that cross the wrist. Such inflammation may lead to soft tissue swelling which compresses the carpal tunnel, causing CTS. Various other disorders should also be considered when CTS is suspected.
Importantly, CTS is not a catchall diagnosis to be used when a person has forearm, wrist, and/or hand pain. If a person really has CTS, he or she will have specific symptoms. The person will awaken at night owing to pain and/or numbness and tingling. Symptoms will be precisely located to the thumb and index finger (possibly involving the middle finger). Wrist pain may or may not be present. Also, the person will demonstrate a weakness of pinch grip involving the thumb and index finger. If these signs and symptoms are not present, the person does not have carpal tunnel syndrome. Usually, the diagnosis is clearcut and does not require special tests such as electromyography.
Remarkably, most physicians, regardless of specialty, are unaware of these important criteria. If the patient has pain and/or numbness in the hand, the patient has CTS. Case closed. This lack of sophistication leads to real harm done to the patient, such as unnecessary tests which waste time, cost a lot of money, and may result in damaging surgery which is not curative as it was directed at a problem that really wasn't there.
In marked contrast, chiropractors are highly trained in accurate analysis of musculoskeletal problems involving the shoulder, arm, and hand.3 When patients have symptoms mimicking those of carpal tunnel syndrome, chiropractors use their broad knowledge and experience to correctly evaluate the situation. For example, spinal dysfunction, muscle spasm, and trigger points can all cause symptoms which appear to be those of CTS. Chiropractors are able to see through this masquerade and effectively address the real underlying problems.
1Ibrahim I, et al: Carpal tunnel syndrome. Review of the recent literature. Open Orthop J 6:69-75, 2012
2Uchiyama S, et al: Current concepts of carpal tunnel syndrome: pathophysiology, treatment, and evaluation. J Orthop Sci 15(1):1-13, 2010
3Bialosky JE, et al: Heightened pain sensitivity in individuals with signs and symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome and the relationship to clinical outcomes following a manual therapy intervention. Man Ther 16(6):602-608, 2011
Nutritional counseling is a type of assessment made which analyzes various health needs in regard to diet and exercise. A nutritional counselor helps people to set achievable health goals and teaches various ways of maintaining these goals throughout their lifetime. Nutrition is an important part of a healthy lifestyle. Without proper nutrition, one does not have enough energy to make it through the day.
This type of counseling assists all ages, ranging from pregnant women, to vegetarians, to the elderly and people with different medical complications. Those who may benefit include those with:
Diabetes; Osteoporosis; Poor nutrition and eating patterns; Eating disorders (some of which may require eating disorder treatment); Digestive complications; HIV; Cancer; Hypertension; Nausea; Nutritional questions; Allergies; Organ problems; Obesity; Hypoglycemia; Menopause; Fitness goals; Heart diseases
Spinal Decompression (IDD Therapy)
The Accu-SPINA is one of the most scientifically advanced back pain treatment systems available today. Designed to non-surgically relieve disc pressure, this device employs force delivery techniques which mimic physical therapy approaches to spinal dysfunction. The Accu-SPINA™ system has the ability to target specific segments of the lumbar spine for treatment. Over the course of a full treatment regimen, this system enables the treating specialist to distract the intervertebral space by a distance of 5 to 7 millimeters, thus significantly decreasing pressure inside the disc.
Spinal Decompression (IDD Therapy) Testimonials
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Our Physical Therapists are Licensed Certified Professionals with extensive knowledge and training in anatomy, physiology and the biomechanics of the body. Physical therapy is a branch of rehabilitative health that uses forms of exercise and equipment which are specifically designed to assist people to either regain or improve their physical abilities. Physical therapy helps to restore a person's best ability to function through minimizing physical impairment, disability-related congenital and acquired conditions, and functional limitations.
The type of physical therapy treatment a person receives is dependent upon their condition. Complete physical therapy treatment can include some different elements. Pain reduction might include the use of ice, heat, relaxation, massage, joint mobilization, stretches, or the use of electrical stimulation or ultrasound.
We have on staff Jeff Aleski, Board Certified Acupuncturist who specializes in back pain, tendonitis, carpal tunnel, pain management, irritable bowl syndrome, infertility, face lift rejuvenation, sinus pain and more. The goal of this dynamic and integrated 5,000 year old health care system is to activate the natural, self-healing abilities of the body. Acupuncture is safe, natural, drug-free and effective.
Ten key benefits of acupuncture include:
Improved Health and Quality of Life; Stress Reduction; Pain Reduction; Improved and Faster Recovery from Injury, Illness and Surgery; Emotional Balance; Respiratory Health; Insomnia Relief; Strengthening Your; Immune System; Premenstrual (PMS) and Menopausal Symptom Relief; Reduction of Side Effects of Chemo and Radiation Therapies
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Please remember that everyone needs to be free from pain so bring your friends and loved ones for a spinal checkup.