You have Carpal Tunnel Syndrome. Now what??

If you have experienced pain, burning, tingling, numbness or weakness in your hand and fingers (specifically your thumb, pointer, middle and half of the ring finger), you may be suffering with carpal tunnel syndrome.

Carpal Tunnel Syndrome (CTS) is a painful condition affecting the hand and fingers.  It is caused by compression of, or trauma to the median nerve.  The median nerve passes through the arm to the wrist, where is passes through the carpal tunnel and feeds into the hand and fingers (see the picture below).  Most often, injury to the median nerve is the result of long hours spent at the computer.  This overuse causes irritation, inflammation and compression of this important nerve.

So what can you do about it?

Ignoring the problem and continuing to work through it may cause additional, possibly irreversible damage.  Though sometimes necessary, surgery is a potentially dangerous and possibly ineffective option.  Steroid injections can help short term, but are painful and may lead you down the road to surgery (as doctors will often use this as a means to determine if carpal tunnel surgery is indicated).  Medications like NSAIDs (like Ibuprofen) can reduce inflammation and pain, but are really only a bandage and doesn't  tackle the root of the problem AND can be harmful to your organs with long term use.

So what's left?
(click the link below to read more and find out)
In most cases conservative care should be your first stop.  (don't forget to read the note at the end of this post)

Acupuncture and chiropractic can be a safe and effective option for carpal tunnel syndrome's painful and annoying symptoms.  Acupuncture can be helpful for carpal tunnel syndrome during pregnancy as well! Your chiropractor will also treat the muscles, tendons,  ligaments and joints of your wrist, forearm, arm, neck and shoulder to address the problem along the whole pathway of the median nerve.  Chiropractic adjustments, wrist and forearm exercises and stretches as well as postural exercises can also help improve the way your body functions, not only helping your pain disappear, but help you prevent it from coming back!  By treating soft tissue and freeing nerve entrapment, followed by exercises you perform on your own, you can get out of pain and stay that way!

**It is important to note that not every case can be managed with conservative care alone.  If you experience significant weakness in your hands or fingers, or notice that the muscles of your palm appear to be withering away, it is important that you consult a neurologist right away.  If Dr. Pierce observes any of these findings, she too will refer you out for further evaluation.