Carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS) is the most expensive of all work related injuries.
Over his or her lifetime, a carpal tunnel patient loses about $30,000 in medical bills and time absent from work. CTS typically occurs in adults, and women are 3 times more likely to develop it than men. The dominant hand is usually affected first with severe pain. It develops through repetitive motion activities using the arms, wrists and fingers. People who do a lot of data entry, or activities requiring repetitive motion of the wrist and fingers are at greater increased risk of developing CTS.
What is CTS?
CTS occurs when the median nerve, which runs from the forearm into the hand gets compressed in the carpal tunnel – a narrow tunnel at the wrist. The compression may result in pain, weakness, and/or numbness in the hand and wrist, which radiates up into the forearm. You may also experience burning, tingling, itching, and/or numbness in the palm of the hand and thumb, index, an middle fingers are most common. Symptoms often first appear while sleeping and may worsen during the day. Some people develop wasting of the muscles at the base of the thumb, or are unable to distinguish hot from cold by touch.
In the office we use chiropractic joint manipulations, and soft-tissue mobilization of the wrist and hand, combined with laser therapy to treat CTS. Dr. Hall gives instruction on stretching and strengthening exercises, rest, ice, and immobilization. Occasionally, patients whose symptoms fail to respond to conservative care may require surgery.
How Can CTS Be Prevented?
The American Chiropractic Association recommends the following tips:
Perform on-the-job conditioning, such as stretching and light exercises.
Take frequent rest breaks.
Wear splints to help keep the wrists straight.
Use correct posture and wrist position.