Carpal tunnel syndrome is a common problem resulting from compression of the median nerve inside the carpal tunnel, a passageway comprised of ligaments, tendon, and bones that leads from the hand to the wrist. This path provides sensation and strength to the thumb and first three fingers.
When the nerve becomes compressed due to irritation, inflammation, or damage, it can cause numbness, tingling, pain, and/or weakness in the hand, particularly with motions involving the thumb. The discomfort experienced varies based on the severity of the condition and can affect grip strength, the ability to grasp an object, and the ability to form a fist.
Carpal tunnel is most often seen in athletes like cyclists, pitchers, gymnasts, and those in grip-dependent sports like golf or tennis, who put continual stress on the ligaments in the wrist. It can also be caused by injury to the hand or wrist, water retention, and certain health conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis, hyperthyroidism, diabetes, pregnancy, and alcoholism.
Whatever the cause, pain from carpal tunnel syndrome can be severe enough to dramatically affect your ability to stay involved in your sport.
The key to avoiding long-term damage, surgery, and the possibility of having to abandon certain athletic pursuits is having your carpal tunnel syndrome diagnosed quickly, treated appropriately, and followed up with preventive measures to limit future pain or recurrence.
How Dynamic Sports Medicine Can Help
Sports chiropractic is not only able to properly diagnose carpal tunnel syndrome but to evaluate an athlete’s technique, equipment, lifestyle, and other factors that make him or her more prone to the condition. As with some other sports injuries, identifying specific causes leading to undue stress on wrists, such as poorly padded handlebars or improperly fitted racquets or clubs, allows sports chiropractors to make recommendations to help with the issue.
In addition, as specialists in nerve entrapment syndromes, chiropractors can provide gentle but effective manipulation of the wrist, hand and even the elbow to relieve pressure on the median nerve, as well as determine if misalignment elsewhere in the spine could be contributing to nerve compression in the wrist.
Often we prescribe massage therapy or other of our effective modalities designed to reduce inflammation, pain, and numbness through the relaxation of constricted fascial tissues that contribute to compression.
Specialized exercises designed to reduce pressure on the median nerve and strengthen surrounding muscle tissues can help relieve symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome and assist in rehabilitation.
Recovery time varies based on the severity of the pain and the length of time the nerve has been trapped, but even in cases requiring surgery, sports chiropractic can speed recovery time and offer more complete healing of carpal tunnel syndrome.
Contact Dynamic Sports Medicine today if you have symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome and start on the sports road to recovery.