What is Carpal Tunnel Syndrome?
In today’s world, many of our jobs require most of if not all our time at the computer. It’s no secret that the long hours at the desk can be detrimental to our health and posture. One of the unfortunate side effects of desk posture can be Carpal Tunnel Syndrome.
Carpal tunnel syndrome is a condition that causes pain, numbness and tingling in the hand and arm. This condition occurs when the median nerve is compressed as it travels through the wrist. According to the American Academy of Family Physicians, 3 to 6 percent of adults suffer from carpal tunnel.
What causes carpal tunnel syndrome?
There is a limited amount of space in our wrist for bones, nerves, tendons, muscles and vascular tissues. Swelling in this area, or tunnel will compress the tissues inside creating pressure on the median nerve. The two most common and obvious causes are repetitive hand use, and hand and wrist position. Over prolonged periods of time, the same motions of the wrist and hand can cause swelling of the tendons that puts pressure on the nerve.
Usually, those motions require the wrist to be in flexion or extension, increasing the pressure on the nerve as well. Any office worker in the Denver Tech Center can attest to the time spent with their hand on the mouse. Another less obvious cause of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome stems from the neck.
Trauma to the neck or poor posture can negatively impact the nerve roots of the brachial plexus that extend from your neck into your arm. These nerve roots extend to form a single nerve in the arm, called the median nerve. The median nerve controls the feeling and movement in the thumb and first 3 fingers. Irritation to these nerve roots caused by trauma or repetitive postural stress in the neck can contribute to carpal tunnel.
Does Carpal Tunnel Syndrome get Worse?
Carpal tunnel syndrome typically gets worse over time, so early treatment is important. Chiropractic and massage can both alleviate carpal tunnel pain. If treated soon enough symptoms can often be relieved with simple measures like wearing a wrist splint or avoiding certain activities. Combined with massage and chiropractic, these steps can prevent worsening wrist pain. If pressure on the median nerve continues, it can lead to nerve damage and may require surgery.
Early treatment and prevention are what chiropractic and massage therapies are all about. By maintaining the proper movement of the spine, shoulder, elbow and wrist bones, chiropractic care can fend off or reduce the symptoms of carpal tunnel. Keeping the muscular tissues loose and healthy, naturally, promote proper movement of the arm and neck. With proper movement comes reduced pain and healthier circulation, reducing the swelling in the wrist from long hours at the desk or office.
Some quick tips to combat carpal tunnel.
- Take your breaks. Getting away from the desk gives you’re a break from the stress of sitting postures. The body is an amazing machine built to move, not to sit still.
- Stretch out your hands. Extend your arm in front of you, pull your fingers straight back, gently, towards your elbow. Do the same with your thumb.
- Loosen up your neck. Slowly, try to bring your ear to your shoulder. You’ll notice your opposite shoulder might try to come up when you do this. Try holding one are behind your back to keep your shoulder stable.
- Open the chest. The nerve roots for the arm can be negatively impacted by tight chest muscles. Using your door jam, place your palm on the frame and lean forward into the stretch. Try holding for 30 seconds, remember to breathe and only go as far as it is comfortable.
Massage and chiropractic successfully treat and reduce neck, shoulder and wrist pain. We are happy to help everyone in the Greenwood Village and Centennial area, but also invite anyone from Denver or the surrounding metros that are seeking treatment for their carpal tunnel or any other pain-needs.