Typically when people think of chiropractors they usually think about spine pain. You know, neck and back pain, and even headaches. What I want to address today is the extremity work we do. Most of the people who have carpal tunnel syndrome, rotator cuff injuries or plantar fasciitis, they don’t think about a chiropractor. They just think of what they hear most often, and that’s surgery.
Carpal Tunnel Syndrome:
If I say, “let’s go in there and slice the wrist open and relieve the pressure in the carpal tunnel.” This seems to make sense to a lay person, because when they are told that the transverse carpal ligament is putting pressure on the medial nerve and therefore, needs to be released, their limited understanding of anatomy qualifies the procedure in their mind.
Sadly, my experience is that the majority of carpal tunnel surgeries are not necessary and the failure rate is quite high. Most are simple overuse injuries. The carpal tunnel is an area at the wrist where you have a lot of structures passing through, such as tendons running to the hand and fingers that supply movement of the fingers. The muscles of the hand are in the forearm and they control the fingers via long tendons that pass through that same tunnel. Typically what you find is that those tendons become inflamed and swollen due to overuse, and that’s actually where the pressure comes from. It’s like trying to stuff cooked spaghetti back into its original package, because of the swelling, it’s not going to fit. But, if you calm down the musculo-tendon complex, then the pressure inside the tunnel reduces and tendons slide like they’re supposed to and the pain leaves.
So how do we treat carpal tunnel syndrome? One way, is fixing misalignments of the wrist. The main culprit is the lunate bone. Of all eight carpal bones, the lunate bone is the one responsible for pressure on the carpal tunnel when things are not in proper alignment and when out of position, it drops down into the tunnel. Chiropractic manipulation of the wrist helps restore proper alignment and alleviates pressure. Carpal tunnel is many times a slam dunk to fix because whether or not it’s an overused injury or is a misalignment (subluxation) we have had great success helping people get better. Typically, manipulation, massage, laser therapy, stretching exercises, and a person gets their strength back and gets rid of their hand burning, tingling, and numbness.