Carpal Tunnel Syndrome surgery risks and alternative treatments
posted: Aug. 08, 2022.
Claims about the success or failure of Carpal Tunnel surgery greatly vary. But there is a way to improve Carpal Tunnel symptoms without resorting to invasive techniques: chiropractic care.
Carpal Tunnel Syndrome (CTS) can profoundly affect your quality of life. The painful condition in your hand and wrist is caused by nerve compression on your median nerve – the one that runs the length of your arm. It passes through a passage in your wrist (the carpal tunnel), ending in your hand. The compression comes from inflammation due to repetitive use or from a hidden medical condition or injury.
Causes of CTS
- Repetitive use of the hands or continued work with pulsating tools
- Metabolic disorders that affect the thyroid and pituitary glands
- Spinal nerve irritation
- Prolonged computer use
- Unresolved neck and upper back pain
- Rheumatoid arthritis
How to identify CTS
Carpal Tunnel Syndrome causes numbness and tingling in the fingers within 60 seconds of activity.
Feelings of pain, tingling, and burning that begin in the hand and move toward the tips of the fingers are the early warning signs of CTS. You may feel like your hand is swollen, even when it’s not. CTS can cause a loss of strength in the hand, resulting in difficulty holding or gripping small objects.
The more quickly symptoms appear, the more severe the carpal tunnel syndrome.
CTS symptoms can include:
- Pain, burning, tingling, or numbness in the palm, thumb, and fingers
- Hand weakness and loss of grip strength – especially pinching with the thumb
- Reduced feeling in fingers
- Tingling up the arm
- Muscle cramps in hand and wrist
- Slower nerve impulses
Traditional treatments for CTS
Short-term treatments for CTS typically consist of prescription medications and physical therapy. Cortisone injections are used to manage pain in the wrists and hands. Wrist braces can also help with the pain.
The side effects of these treatments are often worse than the CTS. They include pain and swelling at the injection site, infection, cartilage loss, allergic reaction, or skin discoloration.
If symptoms do not significantly improve, wrist surgery happens in 71 percent of cases.
Carpal tunnel release surgery (CTR) is the most common procedure performed by hand surgeons. Complications and failures have been reported to occur in three to 25 percent of cases, with up to twelve percent needing a second surgery.
A review of studies on surgery success rates finds the fail rate for carpal tunnel surgery is over 50 percent. One study in the review found CTR was unnecessary in many cases where more conservative treatments would have been equal to or more successful than surgery.
Rehabilitation from CTR is a long process of physical therapy. While patients show initial improvement after surgery, there is a substantial lack of long-term studies. Anecdotal reviews suggest many patients have a recurrence of CTS after two years – requiring a renewal of treatments or even a second surgery.
How chiropractic can help with non-invasive and long-term improvements in CTR
Chiropractic care is a more conservative and less invasive approach to Carpal Tunnel Syndrome treatment. Chiropractic care helps CTS by adjusting the patient’s wrist, elbow, and spine.
Most CTS patients show significant improvement in range of motion, finger sensation, and pain reduction after a series of chiropractic treatments.
Chiropractic care can alleviate the symptoms of CTS without all the risks of aggressive therapy. Treatment may include wrist adjustments and mobilization to reduce pressure on the median nerve and relieve symptoms. Your chiropractor may recommend exercises and stretches to improve the range of motion in the wrists and hands.
In one case study, chiropractic care made a demonstrable difference in the pain and inconvenience caused by CTS. Adjustments to the patient’s cervical spine, right elbow, and wrist increased grip strength and dissipated symptoms in just four weeks.
Chiropractic care for Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
- Reduces swelling in the carpal tunnel responsible for pressure on the nerves
- Encourages proper blood flow, minimizing nerve interference
- Removes spinal misalignments that contribute to inflammation
- Increases whole-body health, improving potential underlying conditions contributing to CTS
Chiropractic care is an excellent, non-invasive, and effective solution for Carpal Tunnel Syndrome. Call True Potential Chiropractic today to learn more about how chiropractic care can reduce your suffering with CTS! (503) 574-4872