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Jun. 12 2019 Published by: Dr. Craig Singer

Stopping Carpal Tunnel Before It Starts

The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports an average 900,000 cases of Carpal tunnel syndrome (or CTS), making it the second highest cause for work-related musculoskeletal surgeries annually – only back surgeries outnumber them.

Treatment doesn’t come cheap, either. Most claims cost between $20,000 and $100,000 (some cost more), and 36% of patients require indefinite ongoing treatment. In fact, CTS is considered an illness rather than an injury by the insurance industry due to continued symptoms and long recuperation times.

If you believe you are only in the early stages of developing this condition, your very best option is prevention.

In today’s post, we review what carpal tunnel syndrome is, how the condition typically develops, and ways to help reverse symptoms or prevent CTS altogether.

Defining Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

Carpal tunnel syndrome is a condition in which the median nerve running between the forearm and the palm of your hand becomes pinched inside the wrist area.

The nerve is housed by a narrow passage – your carpal tunnel – composed of bone and ligaments. When the tendons surrounding the passage swell and are irritated, the tunnel becomes even more narrow and can constrict the nerve.

This may result in a number of uncomfortable symptoms affecting the hand and wrist areas. They can sometimes manifest as far up as the forearm and arm.

How Carpal Tunnel Symptoms Typically Develop

Symptoms can include numbing sensations, dull throbbing or shocks of pain, and weakness, and they typically develop gradually. Initially you may feel burning, tingling, or itching on your palms or fingers. Many sufferers report these symptoms in the thumb or one finger first.

Often symptoms first appear during the night, and sufferers wake with a feeling of needing to “shake them out.” As the condition worsens, symptoms begin bleeding into waking hours.

Eventually a person’s grip strength will decrease, making it difficult to form a fist, grasp small objects, or perform other manual tasks.

In cases left untreated, these symptoms can worsen to muscular atrophy, and some people end up losing the ability to discern between hot and cold by touch.

Prevention Techniques for Common Causes of Carpal Tunnel

Often, rather than a single cause, a series of contributing factors are identified in these cases. Statistics do point to women being three times more likely to develop CTS than men, however, and that repetitive motion is often a significant contributor.

In this section, we’re going to look at three primary categories of causation and some of the generally agreed-upon methods for preventing symptoms.

Work Related Issues

If you know anything about carpal tunnel syndrome, you probably heard about it first at work. Risks are not confined to people in one job or line of work, but those who seem to hold positions requiring repeated motions are especially prone to developing symptoms.

Further, data shows that assembly line workers are actually three times more likely to develop the condition than data-entry personnel. Other contributing workplace factors include mechanical problems in the wrist joint, repeated motions, and using vibrating hand tools.

Fort Lauderdale Carpal Tunnel Treatment

Below are some things you can do to help prevent or slow any work-related symptoms:

  • on the job conditioning
  • correct posture and positioning
  • stretch and wear fingerless gloves
  • utilize ergonomic equipment
  • rest breaks
  • job rotation

Your chiropractor or physical therapist can develop a customized conditioning and strengthening program, and make recommendations for equipment upgrades and task rotations.

Metabolic Disorders

Metabolic syndromes that have a direct effect on the nervous system can leave a person at higher risk. Diabetes, an overactive pituitary gland, or an underactive thyroid can all lend to conditions right for the development of CTS when they aren’t being managed appropriately.

While treating the symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome can provide temporary relief, when the root causes are associated with a metabolic disorder, it is necessary to consider lifestyle changes that will improve (or eliminate) the underlying contributors to CTS.

  • Regular exercise lowers blood pressure and improves cholesterol levels and insulin resistance.
  • Eating healthy – particularly choosing whole and unprocessed foods – can reduce overall inflammation.
  • Weight loss (typically a by-product of diet and exercise) can improve every aspect of a given metabolic syndrome, and reduces stress and swelling in joints as well.

Other Medical Conditions

Trauma or injury to the wrist that traditionally causes swelling (a sprain or fracture, for instance) is often a catalyst for finally getting the wrist checked out. However, other medical conditions such as Rheumatoid arthritis flare-ups or the development of a cyst or tumor inside the canal can lead to carpal tunnel as well.

Your treatment plan should always be tailored to the exact trauma, injury, or condition, but here are a few general recommendations to ensure you prevent CTS from developing as a result:

  • Include a physical therapy component in your recovery plan
  • Allow full recovery prior to resuming normal repetitive motions or other risky activities
  • Wear a splint as often as possible while recovering

Fort Lauderdale Chriopractor

If you think you are currently experiencing worsening symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome, and need an official diagnosis or would like advice on managing your condition, your South Florida chiropractor is someone who may be able provide non-invasive relief before you need to resort to surgery.

 

About the Author:

Dr. Singer has been a practicing chiropractor for more than 20 years, and USA Health & Therapy has been around since 2004. Over the course of his career, Singer has helped tens of thousands of people with all kinds of issues by using a wide variety of treatment strategies. He has extensive knowledge of chiropractic modalities, including Gonstead, Diversified, Thompson Drop Table, and Activator, and in 1997 he earned a special adjunctive Chiropractic Certification in Spinal Trauma (CCST) to better provide care for car crash victims. Dr. Singer is licensed to practice chiropractic medicine in both Florida and New York.

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USA Health & Therapy

3434 Northeast 12th Avenue
Oakland Park, FL 33334-4523
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