Struggling through each day with pain your hands and wrists makes life downright unbearable. Carpal tunnel syndrome is a common diagnosis that can lead to surgery where the transverse carpal ligament is cut, this is supposed to relieve your pain, tingling, and numbness. The purpose of cutting the ligament is to relieve pressure being placed on the median nerve. According to one study, “Surgical decompression of the transverse carpal ligament has proven value, producing significant relief of pain and paraesthesia in more than 70% of patients.” Seventy percent of patients seems like a low success rate for such a simple and quick surgical fix. But what if surgery isn’t necessary at all? What if the cause of the pain in your hands and wrists has nothing to do with the wrist, and everything to do with your nervous system and spinal alignment?
What is Carpal Tunnel Syndrome?
According to the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke:
Carpal tunnel syndrome occurs when the median nerve, which runs from the forearm into the palm of the hand, becomes pressed or squeezed at the wrist. The median nerve controls sensations to the palm side of the thumb and fingers (although not the little finger), as well as impulses to some small muscles in the hand that allow the fingers and thumb to move. The carpal tunnel – a narrow, rigid passageway of ligament and bones at the base of the hand – houses the median nerve and tendons. Sometimes, thickening from irritated tendons or other swelling narrows the tunnel and causes the median nerve to be compressed.
Stop right there! Your very first question should be, “What is causing the tunnel/canal to narrow?” The truth is, lots of things! With millions of people being diagnosed every year with carpal tunnel syndrome and the diagnoses becoming more and more common you have to wonder if this is in relation to the transition in ergonomics humans started experiencing at the onslaught of technology. For years, medical professionals blamed typing. Then patients presented with carpal tunnel syndrome who did no typing at all, yet still described the same pain in the hands and wrists. So that in itself eliminated this complication as a “typing disease”.
Carpal tunnel syndrome is categorized as a form of arthritis. Arthritis literally means “inflammation of the joint”. In this case we are talking about inflammation (swelling) in the wrist causing a narrowing of the canal that encases the nerves that control motor function of the palm and fingers. It’s no wonder you feel pain with any small amount of movement. Although inflammation is intended to be a protective response, in this case it’s causing pressure to the nerves in your wrist and hand, and thereby, causing pain at the site of the inflammation.
What is causing the tunnel to narrow from inflammation?
Remember the median nerve we mentioned, the nerve that controls all sensation in the palm and hand? This nerve runs from the tips of your fingers, up through the carpal tunnel, upward through the elbow and the shoulder, and finally into the spinal cord. This is a very long nerve! You can actually feel pain in the palm of the hand when an injury occurs at any point along the median nerve. For example, when you hit your funny bone you feel the tingling in your hand.
Dr. Eddie Weller says the CAUSE of the narrowing of the tunnel isn’t occurring at the site of the pain itself, but is occurring in the neck, specifically the upper cervical neck where the median nerve begins. It takes very little pressure to move the cervical vertebrae out of alignment, and when a misalignment is present the nerves within the spinal cord become compromised. It’s very likely the cause of your carpal tunnel syndrome lies within a compromised median nerve at the point of the cervical spine.
Why Upper Cervical Chiropractic for Carpal Tunnel?
Check out these stats that have been gathered on Upper Cervical Tulsa patients during their care plans since 2012:
93% have seen an improvement in hand numbness
80% have improved grip strength
83% found muscle weakness to improve
100% experienced relief with pins and needles
100% experienced relief with fingers falling asleep
73% found relief with hands feeling cold
- click here to see more stats on other conditions
All those stats are more significant that 70%, which is the number of patients reporting good outcomes from surgery. Many Upper Cervical patients are able to all together eliminate carpal tunnel symptoms by opting to fix the CAUSE of the problem rather than cover up the symptom by using surgery and medications!
Upper Cervical Chiropractic Care is a very precise and gentle form of chiropractic, unlike general chiropractic in that there is no popping of the spine. We gather all your health history, perform an in depth physical analysis of your body, and use precise measurements from x-rays to correct the movement in your vertebrae causing your carpal tunnel symptoms.