Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Chiropractic for Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

When people think “chiropractic,” they often think of back and neck problems. But chiropractic has many applications beyond these typical uses, and it can improve quality of life for a broad range of health conditions. One such condition is carpal tunnel syndrome, a repetitive stress injury (RSI). Chiropractic can be a beneficial treatment for patients seeking noninvasive relief from this ailment that has become all too common in the modern world.

How Does a Chiropractor Treat Carpal Tunnel Syndrome (CTS)?

Carpal tunnel syndrome is a repetitive stress injury (RSI). This category of injuries is caused by repetitive motion, such as typing or assembly line work, which causes pain and injury over time. The earlier that an RSI is diagnosed and treated, the better the outcome can be. Diagnosis includes physical examination and possibly x-rays. Typically, the chiropractic treatment for RSI includes manipulation of the affected wrist and elbow, as well as manipulation of the upper spine. A spinal manipulation involves applying controlled pressure to a joint. The chiropractor may also advise the patient to rest the affected arm, apply cold to reduce inflammation, perform appropriate exercises, or wear a splint or brace to immobilize the area.

Some common treatments chiropractors use for carpal tunnel syndrome include:

Manipulation of the wrist, arm, and upper spine: Misalignment in the spine could contribute to symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome. Doctors of Chiropractic (DCs) perform adjustments (also called spinal manipulations) that aim to correct improper alignment in the spine. The chiropractor typically performs an adjustment using his or her hands, but sometimes devices are employed. Chiropractors may also adjust and treat other areas of the body as needed, including the wrist and arm.

Ultrasound therapy: This therapy uses either very high-energy or low-energy sound, both of which are outside the range of normal human hearing. The chiropractor uses a device that emits focused sound waves that penetrate deep into body tissue. Sound waves can relax muscles, alleviate pain, and reduce inflammation.

Wrist supports: Wrist supports seek to keep the wrist in the proper alignment and can be used to treat or prevent carpal tunnel syndrome.

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