We use our hands for just about everything. Whether it’s building, cooking, texting, writing a book, picking up a child, or distributing medications in a healthcare setting, we can all agree that our hands are important. Without them working properly, many times complications and/or discomfort are the result.
Our hands are made up of bones, nerves, and muscles. We know that without the bones being strong and healthy, the result is some form of deficiency. When the nerves are damaged, it can affect how certain parts of our bodies function. Muscles play their part in attaching the bones and keeping us warm.
The anatomical terms for the bones in the hands are:
What is Carpal Tunnel?
Carpal Tunnel Syndrome is when a nerve is pinched due to repetitive actions that call on the fingers and hands. Those repetitive actions cause swelling in the wrist area, which constricts the medial nerve going through the tunnel (in the wrist). The pinching of the nerve causes one to feel pain, numbness, and sometimes, tingling in the wrist area.
6 Ways To Treat Carpal Tunnel
There are many ways to help ease the discomfort associated with Carpal Tunnel Syndrome. There are stretches along with hand and wrist movements that can be done on a daily to help decrease the pain.
Some choose the steroids (injections) as an option for medication and some prefer over the counter medications that don’t have steroids. However, here are six things to try when you wonder how to get rid of the carpal tunnel:
- Modify activities that induce the pain: Try to limit things like texting, typing, or repetitive hand movements that could be making your pain worse.
- Ice packs: Ice is a great way to help with the swelling of the muscles in your wrists. The last thing you want is to have swollen wrists with your pain, so icing every day can help.
- Warm water soaks: Soaking in warm water, especially an Epsom salt bath, is very helpful for your wrists. This can ease the pain that you’re currently feeling but also help with the swelling as well.
- Wrist splints: These splints can help to support the hurt wrist, but they also keep you from doing those repetitive movements that hurt you in the first place, which is great.
- Medication: Over the counter medications, like ibuprofen and acetaminophen, can help cut down on the swelling and pain that you’re experiencing. However, this is not a long term option.
- Chiropractic care: Seeing your local chiropractor and getting adjustments can help with the pain that you’re experiencing. Even better than that, it can help to undo the pinched nerve and stop your pain in its tracks.
Who can get CTS?
There have been cases where women have dealt with carpal tunnel when pregnant. The cause is due to fluid retention, and in some cases, CT goes away after delivering the baby.
Women are more prone to experiencing Carpal Tunnel Syndrome than men. Menopause and the fluid retention that can be brought on by it can also be a cause of the Carpal Tunnel.
Some of the most frequent conditions are as followed:
- Thyroid Dysfunction
- High blood pressure
- Fractures or trauma to the wrist
- Rheumatoid Arthritis
Kids can deal with carpal tunnel as well as adults. It’s rare in children but not impossible. As you age the chances of dealing with the Carpal Tunnel increase.
Many times, something that seems harmless such as texting can be the very reason the wrist is irritated therefore the texting must be limited. At least until the pain and agitation subside. It’s the repetitive actions that agitate.
Take breaks when doing anything that’s repetitively calling on the fingers, hands, and wrists to move. Typing is repetitive also and should be closely monitored. There are mouse pads with wrist rests that may help, and sometimes using a different keyboard all together may help.
Myth or Fact: Is it true that Carpal Tunnel worsens throughout the night?
Yes, it’s true and here’s why: The lack of movement causes excess fluid to then settle in the wrist area. The pressure from the extra fluid presses on the nerve and that causes the pain.
Is Carpal Tunnel the same as Tendonitis?
Carpal Tunnel affects the nerves, while wrist Tendonitis affects the tendons. They both deal with a certain level of inflammation and treatment is the same for both. However, surgery is generally not an option for Tendonitis.
Splint or Surgery?
William C. Walker, MD, did a study that had the patients they chose to wear the splints only at night versus wearing them day and night. The study lasted for six weeks and it was proven that those who wore the splints all the time gained slightly better results.
Overall, it was proven that the symptoms improved in both sets of patients. Wearing the splints was very helpful in assisting the patients on their journey to experiencing less pain, without surgery. The nerves began working faster for some patients as well.
Surgery is a last resort in most mild cases of CTS. However, it can reach a state where surgery is the only option.
Chiropractic Work May Help Carpal Tunnel
Every working adult uses their hands, and it’s important to maintain the health of your hands as far as you can control. If you or someone you know is dealing with Carpal Tunnel, a chiropractor may also be able to help. You can try the tips above, but if they aren’t working, many chiropractors are trained to deal with Carpal Tunnel Syndrome.
Chiropractors deal with the bones, nerves, and joints in the body. Just because most people see a chiropractor for back pain doesn’t mean that they can’t treat your wrist.
In one study, patients were given chiropractic care to help ease their symptoms. After four weeks and three sessions a week, they had better grip strength and their symptoms were gone.
For more information about different types of chiropractic treatments, check out our article here.
Surgery comes with many risks, and if it’s avoidable, that’s even better. Anchorage Alaska chiropractors know the ins and outs of how to deal with Carpal Tunnel pain.
If you’re struggling with it, see your local chiropractor today. Not only is it safer than surgery, but it can save you a lot of money in the long run. Forget going under the knife and say hello to pain-free hands and wrists.
About Dr. Brent Wells
Dr. Brent Wells is a graduate of the University of Nevada where he earned his bachelor of science degree before moving on to complete his doctorate from Western States Chiropractic College. He founded Better Health Chiropractic & Physical Rehab in Alaska in 1998.
He became passionate about being in the chiropractic field after his own experiences with hurried, unprofessional healthcare providers. The goal for Dr. Wells is to treat his patients with care and compassion while providing them with a better quality of life through his professional treatment.