Carpal tunnel syndrome is a condition that arises when undue pressure is placed on the median nerve. That nerve runs through the wrist and up into the forearm, through a small channel that is known as the carpal tunnel. This nerve provides sensory data to and from the thumb and the first three fingers of the hand. When pressure is placed upon this nerve, the result can be numbness, tingling, pain or sensation of weakness. Some people experience pain in their fingers or hand, while others feel discomfort along their forearm.
Many different things can lead to the development of carpal tunnel syndrome. Inflammation is a common cause, and can develop based on conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis, diabetes and hypothyroidism. Another common cause of carpal tunnel syndrome is chronic stress within the workplace. Many people who spend a significant portion of their day typing on a computer keyboard will develop carpal tunnel syndrome. Even pregnancy can be behind the development of this painful condition.
The first step in addressing carpal tunnel syndrome is to determine the source of the problem, which is done using comprehensive diagnostic techniques. In some cases, interference with the nerve pathway that extends from the cervical spine to the wrist plays a causal role in the development of carpal tunnel syndrome. Chiropractic care can consist of gentle targeted manipulation of the cervical spine, wrist and/or elbow. Many patients find rapid relief of pain and discomfort after chiropractic treatments, and care continues with a customized plan of stretching exercises and other methods of self-care. Patients may also benefit from learning how to maximize the ergonomic properties within their workplace and to recognize the early symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome so that care is sought before the condition worsens.