Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
Carpal Tunnel Syndrome is the most frequently cited Repetitive Motion Injury and represents the fastest growing sector of injuries in America today. Many triggers are attributed to CTS, including increased computer usage, ergonomic deficiency, and medical care focusing on treating the symptoms rather than preventing the condition. The term “carpal tunnel” describes the tunnel formed by wrist bones through which nerves and tendons travel from the forearm to the hand. Although nerve inflammation in this area is a common cause of CTS, additional factors are commonly associated, such as pinched nerves, the pectoralis minor muscle in the chest, rotator cuff issues and forearm muscles.
Repetitive friction of sensitive soft-tissues or chronic muscle tightness will initiate a cascade of irritation that ultimately leads to substantial pain and restriction of movement. Both of these conditions rob the soft-tissues of vital oxygen because of a decline in full muscle contraction and total relaxation. This diminishes the “pumping” motion that normally occurs within healthy muscle tissue. The tissue oxygenation deficit produces fibroblastic activity, and scar tissue forms. As the scar tissue builds, the carpal tunnel tendons solidify, which shrinks the available space for nerves. Ultimately, the competition for space within the tunnel results in nerve compression and CTS ensues. In short, it can take months, or even years before the symptoms of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome present!
Treatment for Repetitive Motion Injuries / Cumulative Trauma Disorders
A combination of chiropractic adjustments and restorative Active Release Technique muscle therapy is often the most effective methodology. Scar tissue adhesions within and between soft-tissues are swiftly eliminated by implementing the Active Release Technique. This patented state-of-the-art soft tissue treatment method is designed specifically for repetitive motion injuries, and can often bring immediate relief.
How does it work?
The healthcare practitioner manually assesses the injury site. Then, an interactive treatment process in which both doctor (applies pressure) and patient (executes precise movement) takes place. Hence, every Active Release session is essentially a distinctive integration of diagnosis and treatment after which most patients realize increased strength and flexibility, and a significant reduction in pain.
As with any chiropractic procedure, addressing the source of the problem is crucial. A chronic joint dysfunction of the neck, shoulder, elbow or wrist can result in strained forearm muscles. Ignoring the symptoms can result in the aforementioned cascade of irritation, which leads to carpal tunnel syndrome. Chiropractic adjustments generally relieve the pain and restore balance to the supporting muscles. Treating only the muscle provides temporary relief, as does ignoring the muscles and treating only the joints.
Is Surgery an Effective Option in Treating Carpal Tunnel Syndrome?
Surgical procedures have evolved over time to release carpal tunnel nerve pressure by permanently severing the ligament that supports the tunnel. However, the long- term success rate of such a procedure is low, as it fails to address the source and origin of the pain. Obviously, the carpal tunnel does not arbitrarily shrink on its own accord. Therefore, increasing the size of the tunnel only provides temporary relief as the tendons will expand again. As well, post-surgical scar tissue can also impede wrist and nerve function, resulting in additional nerve pressure.