Weighing the Options for Carpal Tunnel Syndrome Intervention
Carpal Tunnel Syndrome is a condition that affects 3%–5% of Americans, likely more. Initial symptoms tend to be pain through the front and back of the wrist. Over time, the pain leads to burning, tingling, and numbness. Some cases get so bad as to cause muscular atrophy of the hand. Regardless of your preference, action must be taken.
Treating Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
First, some quick anatomy. The Carpal Tunnel is a passageway made up of wrist bones (carpals) and connective tissue (called the Transverse Carpal Ligament). This passageway allows the Median Nerve to pass through unscathed in order to innervate those muscles responsible for gripping.
For treating carpal tunnel syndrome, patients can opt for one of three approaches: the invasive approach, the bracing approach and the chiropractic approach.
The Invasive Approach
Invasive treatment often involves cutting the Transverse Carpal Ligament. With part or all of the ligament being cut, the Median Nerve is free from compression. Sadly, little more than half (~48%) of post-operative patients are satisfied with their results. This number does not even include follow-up on patients years down the road. Years post-surgery, even more patients are left unsatisfied.
The likely culprit is scar tissue development around the wrist, which leads to even greater compression and agony than before. In fact, the Association of Orthopedic Surgeons have gone so far as to recommend non-surgical treatment first. Hopefully, this recommendation gives pause to those considering invasive treatments.
The Bracing Approach
Bracing involves applying a brace to keep the wrist stationary. In the short-term, bracing is effective; however, we’re not dealing with a short-term condition. Eventually, the wrist will begin to ache again. Long-term usage of the brace will not correct the problem; it will only act as a supportive crutch.
The Chiropractic Approach
Although not as simple, the chiropractic approach is exceedingly effective. Remember that the Carpal Tunnel is made up of a ligament and wrist bones. There just so happens to be one bone, called the Lunate, which lies directly beneath the Median Nerve. The Lunate bone even has a propensity for sliding forward when the wrist is in extension, such as when typing on a keyboard, holding up a service tray, or doing push-ups.
In order to take away the symptoms associated with Carpal Tunnel Syndrome, a chiropractor will put the Lunate bone back into place via surgery-less manipulation. To maintain the results, a chiropractor will prescribe stretching and strength training of the forearm. And the end result? Elimination of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome without any invasive procedures.