Carpal Tunnel Symptoms: Chiropractic Treatment May Help

Posted on: 12 October 2015

Carpal tunnel syndrome is a kind of stress injury caused by repetitive motion. Assembly-line workers and individuals who regularly use a computer keyboard or small hand tools to do their jobs often are affected. Caused by a pinched nerve in the wrist, pain generally occurs in the fingers and thumb, but it can shoot up the arm to the shoulder. Numbness, tingling, and weakness at the base of the thumb are additional symptoms you may suffer.

If you are seeking a noninvasive treatment alternative instead of medications or surgery to relieve the pain associated with carpal tunnel syndrome, chiropractic care offers a number of treatment options. Chiropractors often use a combination of different treatments to help you manage the condition, so knowing what treatment techniques are available can save you time and continued discomfort.

Spinal Manipulations

Misalignment in the spine can cause all kinds of physical problems, including symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome. Through the use of hands-on manipulation and by applying pressure to the area, chiropractors treat carpal tunnel syndrome by performing adjustments in the upper spine. Treatment may also include manipulation of the wrist, elbow, and arm to correct the problem.

Wrist Splints/Braces

Your chiropractor may recommend the use of wrist supports, such as a wrist splint or brace, to immobilize the area and keep your wrist in the proper alignment. Wearing a splint or brace keeps you from bending your wrist and minimizes pressure on the affected nerve. Although you may need to wear the splint around the clock for a few weeks, eventually you will only have to wear it at night.

Ultrasound Therapy

Some chiropractors use ultrasound therapy as a part of chiropractic treatment for carpal tunnel syndrome. Treatment involves the use of an instrument that uses either low-energy or high-energy sound waves that penetrate body tissue. The goal is to reduce inflammation, relax muscles, and ease pain. Although more research is needed, the findings of some studies suggest that ultrasound treatment may offer short-term relief if you have mild to moderate carpal tunnel syndrome.

Exercise Therapy

If you have a mild case of carpal tunnel syndrome, as part of your treatment, your chiropractor may instruct you in certain stretching and strengthening exercises you can perform. Just flexing your fingers and arms frequently throughout the day can help alleviate symptoms.

Shoulder exercises release tension that can affect yours arms, wrists, and fingers. A simple exercise is to rest your arms at your sides, shrug your shoulders, and then rotate them slowly.

Other Chiropractic Treatment Options

Applying ice on your wrist may offer some relief from symptoms by decreasing inflammation and relieving pain; however, ice or a cold pack should not be applied directly to your skin. Your chiropractor may alternate hot and cold therapies. Heat relaxes tense muscles, increases range of motion, and relieves pain; therefore, it's often used before exercise therapy. Whereas heat increases blood flow to the area, cold then slows circulation and reduces swelling of the area.

If your chiropractor combines chiropractic treatment with therapeutic massage therapy, he or she may massage your hands and wrists, and apply trigger point pressure to help reduce symptoms. Massaging other areas of the body helps to improve poor posture, which can contribute to the symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome. Although chiropractors are trained in applying moderate pressure to muscles and soft tissues, many chiropractors hire licensed massage therapists to work in their practices under their direction.

Visit Dr. Ronald W. Jones Chiropractic Centres Massage Therapy for more information about treating carpal tunnel syndrome.