Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

If you work with small tools in manufacturing or use a computer keyboard on a regular basis, you may have an increased risk of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome.

Symptoms of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome Include:

  • Nighttime painful tingling in one or both hands, frequently causing sleep disturbance
  • Feeling of uselessness in the fingers
  • A sense that fingers are swollen even though little or no swelling is apparent
  • Daytime tingling in the hands, followed by a decreased ability to squeeze things
  • Loss of strength in the muscle at the base of the thumb, near the palm
  • Pain shooting from the hand up the arm as far as the shoulder

What causes Carpal Tunnel Syndrome?

The carpal tunnel is filled with tendons (bundles of collagen fibers that attach muscle to bone) that control finger movement. Tasks requiring highly repetitive and forceful movements of the wrist can cause swelling around the tendons, resulting in a pinched nerve and producing CTS.

Prevention

You can help prevent CTS or alleviate symptoms by making some simple changes in your work and leisure habits, such as:
Stretch or flex your arms and fingers before beginning work and at frequent intervals.
Alternate tasks to reduce the amount of repetitive movements.
Modify or change daily activities that put pressure on your wrists.
Modify your work environment. If you use a computer, have an adjustable keyboard table and chair, and a wrist rest.

Treatment

Chiropractic


CTS is commonly treated by chiropractors. The methods most chiropractors use to treat CTS include manipulation of the wrist, elbow, and upper spine, ultrasound therapy, and wrist supports. Two studies support the use of chiropractic treatment for CTS.
In the first study, 25 individuals diagnosed with CTS 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 CTS. Both groups experienced significant improvement in nerve function, finger sensation, and comfort. The researchers concluded that chiropractic treatment and conservative medical care are equally effective for people with CTS.

Acupuncture


According to the National Institutes of Health, acupuncture may help treat CTS. Studies suggest that acupuncture restores normal nerve function and can provide long-term relief of pain associated with CTS.