CARPAL TUNNEL SYNDROME – CHIROPRACTIC TREATMENT
Carpel tunnel, as well as any number of other local entrapment neuropathies, is a type of a condition that chiropractors can treat effectively.
As we have seen, carpel tunnel syndrome can be complicated because it often results from multiple causes, rarely just an impingement at the carpel tunnel. Thus Carpal Tunnel Syndrome is rarely seen just as a problem within the carpal tunnel itself.
The chiropractic approach:
Since symptoms of CTS can be triggered by problems in the forearm, elbow, shoulder and neck, chiropractors will examine patients carefully to determine precisely where entrapment of the nerve is occurring.
An experienced chiropractor will carry out a number of tests to check on the alignment of different parts of the body before starting any treatment. They will trace the nerve back up the forearm up into the shoulder and neck to determine whether there are multiple levels of entrapment. If you only fix one source of entrapment, this may resolve part of the problem.
The methods most chiropractors use to treat carpal tunnel syndrome include manipulation of the wrist, elbow, and upper spine, ultrasound therapy, – as well as an adjustment of any spinal misalignments that may be contributing to structural imbalances.
The objective of the treatment is to improve the mobility of the joints and loosen the muscles through which the nerves pass – particularly the median nerve.
Research into the use of chiropractic treatment:
There is a growing body of research into the use of chiropractic treatment for this condition. Much of this is in the form of small to medium scale clinical studies. The results show that chiropractic treatment can be a very effective alternative treatment to surgery.
Two studies in particular support the use of chiropractic treatment for carpal tunnel syndrome.
In the first study, 25 individuals diagnosed with carp[al tunnel syndrome reported significant improvements in several measures of strength, range of motion, and pain after receiving chiropractic treatment. Most of these improvements were maintained for at least 6 months.
A second study compared the effects of chiropractic care with conservative medical care (wrist supports and ibuprofen) among 91 people with carpal tunnel syndrome. Both groups experienced significant improvement in nerve function, finger sensation, and comfort. The researchers concluded that chiropractic treatment is at least as effective as conservative treatments.
History of this healing art:
Chiropractic treatment dates back to 1895 and Dr David Palmer, who performed the first chiropractic adjustment on a patient.
From that first adjustment, Dr Palmer continued to develop the science of chiropractic care and established the Palmer School of Cure, now known as the Palmer College of Chiropractic in Davenport, Iowa, where it remains today.
Many people became interested in Dr Palmer’s new healing art. Among his early students were Palmer’s son, Bartlett Joshua (BJ), as well as members of the older healing arts of medicine and osteopathy.
The first state law licensing chiropractors was passed in 1913, and by 1931, 39 states had given chiropractors legal recognition.
Today, there are more than 60,000 active chiropractic licenses in the United States. All 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands officially recognise chiropractic as a health care profession. Many other countries also recognize and regulate chiropractic, including Canada, Mexico, Great Britain, Australia, Japan and Switzerland.
The science behind the art:
There is a high degree of controversy about the science and philosophy of chiropractic treatment. You will hear much about topics such as subluxations, which are simply misalignments of the vertebrae and other parts of the muscular skeletal structure of the body. Chiropractic treatment is based on realigning these subluxations and that this will go a long way towards providing relief from a long list of conditions, including carpal tunnel syndrome.
There is no intention here to get into any further discussion about all this. All we will say is that the evidence exists to show that chiropractic treatment has proved to be at least as effective at providing long term relief from carpal tunnel syndrome as conventional treatments.
Chiropractic management of carpal tunnel syndrome is focused on correcting the biomechanics of the wrist, as well as adjacent joints such as the elbow, shoulder and cervical spine. Your chiropractor may apply specific adjustments to the joints of the small bones in the wrist to relieve pressure on the median nerve as well as specific stretches and soft tissue releases to the muscles of the forearm, and may give you stretches to do at home. You may also be given ergonomic advice to prevent overuse injuries, such as correct hand and wrist position when using a keyboard.