Carpal Tunnel Syndrome and Chiropractic

This week in our office, the spotlighted condition on our discussion board is Carpal Tunnel Syndrome or CTS. Twelve years ago, a lecturer said that the personal computer would revolutionize the Chiropractic office. After 10 years in practice, I’ve noticed that the computer not only makes the office work easier but it’s also brought in an evergrowing number of people with hand and wrist problems. As we’ve become more connected to our computers, the hands shortcomings become apparent. The median nerve, which innervates the thumb, index finger, and middle finger, must pass through the carpal tunnel. The tunnel is made up of the carpal bones and the tendons holding the wrist together. The position of typing causes the tunnel to collapse onto the nerve causing pain and numbness in the 1st 3 digits and part of the palm.

As a Chiropractic Doctor, I’ve gotten post graduate training in extremity adjusting. Using specific manual adjustments to the carpal bones and the forearm bones (radius and ulna,) I’m able to relieve pressure on the median nerve. The treatments are quick, effective, and extremely affordable when compared to carpal tunnel surgery. The treatments are often covered by insurance. Better yet, there are no side effects. Most patients notice improvement in their condition with a few treatments. In our clinic, we also utilize the Vectra Laser Therapy. This laser therapy is applied to the site and is very effective in decreasing pain and promoting soft tissue healing. What is frustrating is that I have patients who’ve seen their MD and are given a nerve conduction velocity test. When the NCV test is negative, they often say wait until it gets worse and then I’ll send you to a surgeon. When treated early and non surgically, it is much easier to get relief. Plus, as I always tell my patients, if this doesn’t work, there is always the surgical alternative. But, once the surgery is done, there’s rarely anything more that can be done.

What’s Holding Me Back? Understanding your condition.

During my 10+ years of practice, I’ve had a chance to treat many different patients with many different conditions. A vexing part of practice is when you have a patient who doesn’t respond as expected. It doesn’t happen often, but it does happen. Part of the process with patients is trying to convey, to the best of your ability, what kind of results a particular patient can expect. Some factors that patients may not realize that affect the outcome is what kind of condition THEY are in. Factors that affect success at relieving pain are the same things that make anyone better able to get over illnesses. Conditions such as obesity, heart disease, diabetes, smoking, substance abuse or history of it, advanced age, lupus, fibromyalgia, and even depression can slow down the healing process. On the flip side, patients who are “super athletes” push their bodies so hard that the bodies ability to heal is being used to repair muscles and ligaments damaged with hard workouts or games.
People who are stressed out, overworked, sleep deprived, eating a fast food diet in their car, and unwinding every night with a couple of drinks and sleep meds, suffering from acid reflux and popping ibuprofen for pain aren’t going to get over sinus infection very well, much less a complex spinal condition. Getting healthy is a vital part of getting well. If you are under care, realize that it doesn’t mean you aren’t going to get well, but it may take much longer than other people with the same type of problem. As I’ve told many patients, I’m not a miracle worker, I’m doing my best with what skills I’ve been given. But, I also have to do my best with what you as a patient have brought me to work with. Being patient while being a patient is the most important thing to do. Remember, most problems didn’t get that way in 1 day and they rarely resolve in 1 day of treatment.