Is Carpal Tunnel Surgery the Only Potential Solution?

For many patients with carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS), surgical release is too often the only discussed option for treatment. Why is this? How medical doctors are taught as well as what they read drives many of their decisions.

So what does the medical literature actually say these days? An article published in 2007 (Adv Tech Stand Neurosurg 2007;32:175-249) may provide some perspective.

The paper is titled, “Carpal Tunnel Syndrome-a comprehensive review.”

Unfortunately the “comprehensive” review pretty much only discusses the surgical approach to this most difficult problem. The conclusion states, “Surgery for carpal tunnel syndrome requires meticulous attention to history-taking, investigation, counseling, training and surgical technique if unsatisfactory results and complications are to be avoided.”

The authors are to be commended for providing a sober perspective on the potential outcome and pitfalls of surgery for CTS.

The part that makes us feel this review is very incomplete is that chiropractic care is not discussed. Sadly, this is often the case.

But patients deserve to be told their many options for treatment, including alternatives to surgery such as chiropractic care. When all you have is a hammer, everything starts to look like a nail.

No one doctor has all the answers but it’s important to hear the various perspectives so you can make an informed decision.

For the CTS patient, chiropractic offers a number of treatment options but first and foremost, a thorough examination must be performed in order to determine why the patient is experiencing pain, numbness, and other forms of discomfort. Sometimes the neck is involved, affecting the nerves that go to the hand and wrist. This is called the double-crush syndrome and it is often overlooked by providers who only examine the wrist for the cause of the wrist and hand symptoms. If your neck was injured in a whiplash or sports trauma, this may be one aspect of your health that has not yet been addressed. By treating the problem in the neck region, the nerves to the wrist may function more normally.