For those who have been suffering with carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS) for an extended amount of time, you may be on the verge of an invasive surgical procedure to see if it can offer some relief. Prior to an invasive surgery, you may want to try an alternative method such as upper cervical chiropractic care first.
CTS is when there is pressure or irritation to the median nerve. The median nerve originates in the neck and runs down your arm into the wrist and the hand. This nerve controls sensation and movement in the thumb and the first three fingers. Tendons and this nerve pass through a narrow tunnel (the carpal tunnel) located at the wrist. Since this tunnel is limited in space, the contents within it can be affected when changes (such as inflammation or swelling of tendons and ligaments) cause narrowing of the tunnel and apply pressure upon the median nerve. If you have CTS there is a good chance you have felt a painful, aching, burning, tingling, or numbing feeling in your wrist or hand. You may even have weakness in your grip strength or loss of sleep and production. It is thought that repetitive motion of the wrist or hand can lead to a higher probability of CTS although this theory is debated amongst experts. What is not debated, is that compression of the median nerve leads to the sensations an individual with CTS feels.
A proper evaluation of the neck should be included in those with carpal tunnel syndrome because pressure and irritation of the median nerve can take place anywhere along the course of the nerve, from the neck to the wrist. When a nerve is being compressed at more than one location, this is known as “Double Crush Syndrome.” Many scientific and medical research journals reference the hypothesis of double crush syndrome as a consistent finding in patients with CTS and suggest that this phenomenon could be a common cause of carpal tunnel syndrome. The reasoning behind double crush syndrome would certainly explain why some people find that their problem isn’t fixed or is only temporarily alleviated when surgery attempts to relieve the pressure in the wrist. When examining patients with CTS in both arms, researchers have found a higher rate of arthritis in the neck, the hypothesis of double crush syndrome could also explain this discovery. (1)
In all, treatments directed primarily at the wrist neglect the possibility of nerve compression elsewhere, such as the neck. There are numerous treatment options for carpal tunnel syndrome and a misalignment within the neck should not be overlooked in the plan for relief. Chiropractic care in conjunction with physical therapy, stretching, and strengthening exercises may effectively alleviate symptoms associated with CTS in many cases. Therefore, it makes sense to exhaust all other possibilities of relief before subjecting yourself to surgery that may have lifelong effects. An upper cervical chiropractor gets precise measurements of your misalignment to hundredths of a degree. This specificity when it comes time for your correction can help make all the difference. To see if upper cervical chiropractic care may be right for you, call and schedule a consultation with us today.
- Hurst LC. Weissberg D. Carroll RE. The relationship of the double crush to carpal tunnel syndrome (an analysis of 1,000 cases of carpal tunnel syndrome). Journal of Hand Surgery. 1985 June: 10(2):202-204.