Research has shown certain work practices and risk factors, such as being overweight, can elevate your risk for developing carpal tunnel symptoms.
A doctor of chiropractic will often look to the spine when a patient has nerve pain. Many people with carpal tunnel syndrome have a history of a whiplash injury or other neck trauma. But how can a neck injury make someone susceptible to carpal tunnel? Simple. When you sprain the ligaments in your neck, this can cause damage and inflammation, which can irritate a nerve where it exits the spinal cord and courses between tiny bones to eventually reach your hand. If the nerve is irritated at the neck region, then this makes it more vulnerable to compression as it passes through the wrist.
How can this possibly be fixed “chiropractically”? The first step is to diagnose if you have a primary wrist or neck problem, or a problem with both areas. A thorough examination of the neck, which may include x-rays, is important. The carpal bones of the wrist can be out of alignment or the vertebrae in the neck can be out of normal position. A specific adjustment can help to correct these abnormalities and restore mobility.
Contractures (the shortening of a muscle or joint) can develop over time as well, fixating the nerves and not allowing them to glide normally when you perform movements various movements. Deep tissue therapy such as “pin and stretch” and deep massage can break up knots and tight tissues or scarring.
With most patients, alignment is an issue, as is flexibility and strength. Most treatment approaches for the carpal tunnel patient will be multifactorial as no one exercise, or one supplement, or even one adjustment, is right for everyone.