In today’s technology driven world, more and more companies are relying on computers to help run their businesses effectively. Unfortunately, this has led to an increase of work-related injuries, such as carpal tunnel syndrome. This condition causes a variety of symptoms, including wrist pain, stiffness, weakness, and tingling in the hand and fingers. Additionally, some people will experience discomfort that radiates to the forearm. Carpal tunnel not only affects job performance but can also affect a worker’s ability to do everyday tasks in the home. This condition is so prevalent in the workplace that millions are spent annually on carpal tunnel syndrome.
When a patient visits a doctor for hand discomfort or tingling, carpal tunnel syndrome is often the diagnosis. There are other conditions that have similar symptoms. In order for a proper diagnosis to be confirmed, a physician may perform orthopedic and neurological tests, including specialty electrodiagnostic tests, such as an EMG (electromyography or NCS (Nerve conduction studies).
The treatment for carpal tunnel syndrome will vary based on the severity of the symptoms. Oftentimes, the first method used is resting the hand, modifying work activity, and applying ice packs to reduce swelling. If, after a few weeks, the symptoms do not improve, other treatment options may be tried, including wrist splinting, over the counter medications, corticosteroid injections and surgery.
Determining the Severity of Your Wrist Discomfort
The best way to determine the severity of your condition is to rate yourself with these simple questions.
- Are you experiencing discomfort or pain in your hand, wrist or forearm? Discomfort and pain in the forearm, wrist or hand can be a symptom of a variety of conditions, including tennis elbow, carpal tunnel or a sprain. Answering this question will not definitively determine the cause of your wrist discomfort.
- Are you experiencing any numbness or tingling in your hand or forearm? If you answer yes to this question, you are experiencing a neurological condition caused by irritation or compression of a nerve. There are many causes for this including carpal tunnel syndrome, peripheral neuropathy stemming from diabetes, stroke, a vitamin deficiency, injury of the brachial plexus, or spinal nerve root impingement.
- Are you experiencing weakness when using your arm or hand, such as opening a jar? If you are experiencing weakness in your hand or arm, it could be a symptom of a more severe neurological compression or other medical condition. Oftentimes, this results from a nerve problem in the neck, shoulder or back.
In order to receive a proper diagnosis, you must have a physical exam to determine the severity of the symptoms and evaluate the various treatment options for your symptoms. There are a variety of alternative treatments available that can help relieve your symptoms without the need of injections, medications or surgery. These include chiropractic treatment, cold laser therapy and rehabilitation.
Conservative Treatment For Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
- Functional Chiropractic care is used to find the cause of your wrist discomfort. The functional chiropractor concentrates on finding the root cause of your discomfort by performing a physical exam of the neck, upper back, shoulder, elbow, and wrist. Once the physical exam is completed, the chiropractor will perform a variety of gentle adjustments to help restore the functionality of the affected joints that may be causing your wrist discomfort.
- Rehabilitation of the wrist is sometimes necessary. This type of treatment involves gentle stretches and exercises to strengthen the wrist and improve flexibility. During your rehab, you may also receive hot or cold pack therapy, electrical stimulation, massage and ultrasound. Other treatment methods include acupuncture or acupressure to help stimulate the blood flow to the area to promote healing.
- Cold Laser therapy is an FDA approved treatment for carpal tunnel syndrome and other wrist injuries. This type of therapy helps reduce inflammation and decrease pain using low level lasers. The cold laser therapy uses specific wavelengths to increase cellular repair in the ligaments, tendons, muscles, and nerves in the wrist.
Wrist discomfort can be a symptom of a variety of medical conditions. In order to effectively treat wrist pain, numbness and discomfort, a proper diagnosis is needed. Once your physician determines the cause of your wrist discomfort, your doctor can proceed with the recommended treatment for carpal tunnel, including chiropractic adjustments, cold light therapy, rehabilitation, splitting, corticosteroids and over the counter medications. Physicians tend to avoid surgery until all other avenues of treatment have been attempted.
Looking for help with Carpal Tunnel Syndrome? Call us today at (571)529-6699 and request a consultation with our Functional Chiropractor who specializes in pain relief.
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