Carpal Tunnel Syndrome (CTS) is a very common problem. The American Association of Orthopedic Surgeons (AAOS) reported that in 2007, there were 330,000 carpal tunnel release surgeries performed. (WHOA!) The main reason to have the surgery is to “open up” the tunnel. That is, the transverse carpal ligament or “floor” of the tunnel is released so the contents inside the tunnel are able to move more freely, reducing the pressure inside the tunnel.
Essentially, this is the goal of any treatment (surgical or not): improving the depth of the tunnel, thus reducing the pressure from inside the tunnel allowing the tendons to slide better as the muscles on the palm-side forearm contract to move the nine tendons that pass through the tunnel and attach to the fingers and thumb.
However, there are non-surgical methods for reducing the pressure within the tunnel that should be first attempted as surgery is always reported to be the “…last resort” for good reason. There can be surgical complications, the effects may be only partial, and there is an average of 30% grip strength loss following the transverse ligament surgical release. So, the question is, how can chiropractic approaches reduce the pressure inside the carpal tunnel without somehow changing the length of the transverse carpal ligament?
By going beyond traditional chiropractic care and using Active Release Techniques (ART), we can often release the transverse carpal ligament by hand, taking pressure off of the nerve and relieving symptoms. We can also address possible muscular entrapment sites for the median nerve, like the pronator teres muscle. These muscular entrapments mimic Carpal Tunnel Syndrome, but can be easily released with ART treatment. In the last 15 years, we’ve helped literally hundreds of patients avoid carpal tunnel surgery by using Active Release Techniques. We don’t claim to have a 100% success rate, as some cases do require surgery. But we believe it’s best to try us first and see what we can do.
The use of a night splint to keep the wrist in a straight or slightly “cocked-up” position is also highly beneficial as the pressure inside the tunnel goes up as much as 6-8x when CTS is present when the wrist bends.
If you, a friend or family member require care for CTS, we would be happy to help. Just call 303.300.0424 to set up your first appointment.