Suffering From Carpel Tunnel Syndrome?

Occasional and intermittent numbness in a couple of fingers can be overlooked as a hard night’s sleep or too much exercise causing inflammation or a pinched nerve. But, when all of your fingers remain persistently numb, and you start to lose function, then you want another opinion besides your own. If this is your scenario, you may have Carpal Tunnel Syndrome. 

The carpal tunnel is actually a sheath that protects the main (median) nerve that runs from your arm into your hand, through the wrist, along with the tendons and ligaments that move your fingers. When repetitive use causes pressure to be place on the median nerve, inflammation and swelling creates a constriction on those nerves that are, in essence, trapped in that tunnel with nowhere to go. This, then, is what is called Carpel Tunnel Syndrome and can be confirmed by electrical nerve stimulation testing with a neurologist. Excessive typing on a computer is one of the most common causes, as well as prolonged writing the old fashioned way, sleep positioning of your arms and hands, or any injury that could result in swelling and pressure in the area of the wrist. 

If you’ve been suffering from these symptoms and are fearful that surgery is your only option, you may first want to contact your local chiropractic professional. Chiropractic therapy first determines what the patient is doing to cause the symptoms and changing those patterns to relieve the pressure. Massage helps to release the muscles all the way from the neck and chest, down the arm to the hand, with intensive focus on the tissues around the fingers and wrists to break up any persistent swelling.

Common Injuries Among Victims of Auto Accidents

Your injuries from a car accident affect many different parts of your body. The most widely known auto accident injury is whiplash. Nevertheless, other common injuries include: 

  • Chronic shoulder pain
  • Thoracic & lumbar spine damage 

Chiropractic treatment can help you manage the pain due to an auto accident injury. It also supports your rehabilitation from an auto accident injury.  Your body can go through a safe healing process with chiropractic care.

Chronic Shoulder Pain

Pain in your shoulders or upper back may be due to a herniated disc in your upper back. 

If nearby nerves are compressed by a herniated disc, then pain is experienced. Auto accidents often exert a significant amount of force on the upper body resulting in a rapid jerk forwards and subsequently backwards, thus causing misalignment of the spine. Muscle soreness and stiffness are also quite common. 

After an auto accident, if you begin experiencing shoulder pain that persists for more than a couple of days, then your pain may be triggered by a spinal misalignment. 

Visiting your chiropractor is an excellent way to diagnose the specific cause of your pain, and also receive a plan for effective treatment. 

Lower-Back Pain

You can sustain thoracic and lumbar spine damage even during a minor car accident such as a “fender bender.” 

A minor auto accident can result in you having a herniated or bulging disc that triggers a compression of your spinal cord. Along with lower back pain, you might experience tingling sensations, weakness, or numbness in your legs.  Additionally, your nerves, muscles, and ligaments can be traumatized during an auto accident.

Chiropractic care is a gentle way to alleviate the pain and pressure caused by a herniated disc.

Neck and Upper Back Pain Caused by Whiplash

Neck and upper back pain is most often due to more than one factor, such as an auto accident injury, poor posture, stress, subluxations, and in certain cases, disc herniation. Nevertheless, whiplash injury is by far the most common injury. 

A whiplash injury is sustained by either a backwards, forwards, or sideways sudden movement of your head. The result of such a traumatic movement is damage to your neck’s supporting muscles and ligaments. In addition, damage is often experienced in other connective tissue located in your neck and upper back. 

Whiplash symptoms include, but are not limited to: 

  • Neck pain
  • Muscle stiffness
  • Muscle spasms (back and front of your neck)
  • Tenderness (along the back of your neck and shoulders)
  • Difficulty rotating, flexing, or extending your head
  • Headache
  • Jaw tightness
  • Vision disturbance
  • Tinnitus 

All whiplash injuries should be taken seriously. This includes car, sports, and work accidents. It is common for whiplash injuries to be present for weeks, even months, before they are noticeable to you. People often mistakenly believe they are not injured because the symptoms and pain are not always immediate. Consequently, they don’t seek treatment or when treatment is obtained, serious complications have already developed and part of the damage may unfortunately be permanent. 

Studies have shown that about half of the victims of whiplash often settle their auto injury insurance claims, only to suffer from symptoms and pain years after their settlement. If you have been involved in any kind of accident, especially a car accident, don’t make the mistake of assuming you are injury-free because you are not experiencing pain currently. It is best that you have a chiropractor examine you for whiplash.

What is Chiropractic Adjustment?

For those who aren’t familiar with it, chiropractic adjustment may come across as a modern form of quackery. It may conjure images of someone bent over in severe pain and someone else popping them back up with a big cracking noise, providing immediate, almost magical relief.  But in reality, chiropractic adjustment is a far more subtle, extremely regimented treatment that has been proven to be a great benefit to people suffering from lower back pain, neck pain and headaches.  

In the procedure, a trained specialist, a chiropractor, uses either their hands or a small instrument to apply pressure to a spinal joint as the patient lies face down on a special table with a neck support. The desired result is that the misaligned joint will be realigned into its proper position, relieving the stress on nerves and muscles that is causing the pain. 

Chiropractic adjustment is carried out through a series of office visits, and there is no special preparation. Sometimes, spinal joints will move back into their misaligned position, and will need repeated adjustments. Fortunately, most health insurance policies now cover the procedure, but you may want to check with your health care provider to see how many visits are covered. 

Proponents and opponents have argued for years about the effectiveness of chiropractic adjustment, but most medical experts agree that it is about as effective as more traditional pain relief methods including surgery and medication. 

Side effects from chiropractic adjustment typically include minor aches in the area treated, headache or fatigue. In very rare instances, side effects, particularly following neck manipulation, have included stroke.

Plantar Fasciitis

Plantar Fasciitis occurs when the ligament that attaches the heel bone to the front of your foot, the plantar fascia, is repeatedly strained, resulting in small tears. It swells and it’s very painful when you walk or stand, with the pain focused near the heel of the foot. 

People of all ages from children to the elderly can experience Plantar Fasciitis, which can be caused by a number of things: 

  • Running long distances
  • Being overweight
  • Wearing poorly fitting shoes
  • Irregularities in the foot or leg like high arches, pronation, flat feet or a tight Achilles tendon or calf muscle
  • Aging 

Pain from Plantar Fasciitis comes and goes throughout the day. The pain is usually most pronounced in the morning when you first get up. It subsides for a bit and then returns as the day progresses with a sharp, stabbing pain. 

Chiropractic Solutions for Plantar Fasciitis 

Treatment for Plantar Fasciitis does not usually include surgery. Your doctor may recommend resting the foot and avoiding the stresses that may have led to the condition in the first place. 

Chiropractic treatments to control pain and inflammation may include: 

  • Neuromuscular massage to stretch the muscles and tendons of the foot and ankle
  • Physiotherapy to evaluate and correct the patient’s stance and their gate while walking or running
  • Heat or cold packs
  • Ultrasound and electrical muscle stimulation 

Some patients have experienced remarkable results with chiropratic solutions for Plantar Fasciitis, reporting little or no pain after just a few weeks of physical therapy and other treatments.

Chiropractic for Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

According to the National Institutes of Health, more than 10,000 people suffer some level of carpal tunnel syndrome each year. Those most vulnerable to this often debilitating condition include those who sit at computers for long periods of time and those who work in repetitive jobs like manufacturing. 

Basically, carpal tunnel syndrome occurs when the median nerve – the nerve that runs from the forearm into the palm of the hand – becomes compressed at the wrist, causing numbness and pain that can run from the palm of the hand all the way up the forearm.  Other symptoms can include a weak grip, problems with coordination and general weakness in one or both hands. 

A thorough physical examination involving a close look at the hands, arms, shoulders and neck can help your doctor determine whether you have carpal tunnel syndrome. Additionally, x-rays and lab tests can help rule out other causes of inflammation including diabetes and arthritis. 

Typically, sufferers of carpal tunnel syndrome are given a wrist brace to help keep the median nerve stretched out when in use. Chiropractic carpal tunnel treatments can also be of great help in easing the pain and discomfort of carpal tunnel syndrome. These can include: 

Physiotherapy – Nothing is more important to the care and treatment of carpel tunnel syndrome than physical therapy. This ranges from exercises to strengthen the hand, wrist and arm to helping patients make changes in their movements or work habits that will help provide long term relief. 

Other Chiropractic Treatments -  Physical therapy may be used in conjunction with other treatments, including ice or heat therapies, ultrasound or electrical muscle stimulation. These types of treatments are generally used to help control inflammation and encourage healing. 

If you think you may be suffering from carpal tunnel syndrome, it is important to seek treatment sooner rather than later. Prognosis is very good for those who get treated early, while waiting can lead to more permanent problems that can, in turn, lead to costly surgery.

Rotator Cuff Injury: Chiropractic Solutions

Rotator cuff injury is one of the most common causes of shoulder pain. With this type of injury, you can suffer sharp pains shooting from the shoulder down through the arm, persistent throbbing pain or a limited range of motion. There may even be redness and swelling. 

The rotator cuff consists of the set of muscles and tendons in your shoulder that connect your upper arm bone to your shoulder socket. Injuries can result from an accident or severe fall, throwing a ball or even just lifting a heavy object over the head.  They can also be due to tendonitis or age. 

Most rotator cuff injuries do not require surgery; however, they can often benefit greatly from chiropractic.  At consultation, your chiropractor may recommend one or more of the following treatments: 

Physical Therapy:  Your chiropractor will prescribe a series of stretches and exercises aimed at strengthening the shoulder and muscles of the arms and making sure the healing process proceeds with positive outcomes. 

Cryotherapy:  Ice bags regularly applied to the shoulder area can help reduce pain and inflammation. This technique is generally used immediately following the injury. 

Fomentation: Once the pain and inflammation have improved, the chiropractor may have you switch to heat packs to help relax sore and weakened muscles. 

Ultrasound:  Therapeutic ultrasound has proven to help heal rotator cuff injuries by increasing blood flow and stimulating tissue in the affected area. 

Electrical Muscle Stimulation:  Similarly to ultrasound therapy, electrical muscle stimulation helps improve circulation around the rotator cuff, relieving pain, improving mobility and speeding the healing process.

What is Naturopathic Medicine?

Naturopathic medicine is a type of alternative medicine which relies on natural approaches to healing and wellbeing. Naturopaths are guided by the philosophy of vitalism, which states that the body has a vital force that gives it an inherent ability to heal. Naturopaths treat the individual holistically, using non-invasive methods to restore balance to all components of a person’s biological, psychological, and spiritual makeup, thereby optimizing the body’s vital force.  Naturopathic care usually involves some combination of the following:

Homeopathy

Homeopathy involves the use of diluted, very low concentrations of substances (homeopathic pills)  that in more concentrated, higher doses would produce symptoms similar to the patient’s in a healthy person. It is believed that the homeopathic treatment triggers the body’s healing response to the target disease. Homeopaths prescribe individualized remedies based on the patient’s symptoms, as well as the patient’s personality traits, lifestyle, and psycho-emotional state.

Botanical medicine/Herbal medicine

One of the cornerstones of naturopathic medicine is the belief that medications derived from natural sources, particularly from plants, are more conducive to optimal healing than man-made drugs. As such, naturopaths prescribe herbal remedies and supplements to treat diseases. Herbal preparations may include herbal teas, wines, infusions, decoctions, tinctures, oils, salves, or inhalants. Some naturopaths also administer herbal treatments in pill-form.

Traditional Chinese medicine

Many naturopaths practice traditional Chinese medicine which incorporates the use of Chinese herbs, Chinese manipulative therapy (acupuncture, tui na), Chinese meditative physical exercise (tai chi, qigong), and Chinese dietary principles. Traditional Chinese Medicine is rooted in Chinese cosmological and philosophical concepts of the natural world.

Nutritional

Naturopaths believe that nutrition plays a major role in disease prevention and healing. As such, naturopathic care focuses on improving and optimizing patients’ health through the use of an organic, natural diet tailored to the patient’s needs.

Naturopathy is not confined to the above four treatment methods. It is a broad -ranging practice and depending on the naturopath’s training and specialization, naturopaths may administer treatments based in physical medicine, color therapy, ozone therapy, live blood analysis, hydrotherapy, reflexology, hair analysis, psychotherapy, stress management, and much more.

What Do Chiropractors Do?

Chiropractic medicine is a well-accepted medical field yet many people have only a vague idea of what chiropractors do. If you are one such person, you may be surprised to know that there is much more to chiropractic treatment than bone-cracking spinal adjustments. Chiropractors typically administer a number of therapeutic modalities to remedy muscular-skeletal problems (back pain, neck pain etc.), and to treat a range of related diseases. Below are the main therapies practiced by chiropractors.

Manual therapies

Chiropractors are trained first and foremost to perform spinal and joint manipulation. These chiropractic adjustments involves manually maneuvering the joints using quick, dynamic movements to release pressure within the joint and trapped synovial folds. A chiropractor may also perform spinal and joint mobilization, which involves applying a gliding force to mobilize stiff joints.

Massage therapies

Many chiropractors are trained in massage techniques. They may use neuromuscular therapy to manually stimulate and manipulate soft tissue (muscle) for improved muscular functioning, pain reduction, and healing.  Myofascial release, a form of massage targeting the myofascial tissue, and trigger point therapy, a massage technique which targets tight, hypersensitive spots in the muscles, are also commonly practiced by chiropractors.

Physical therapy

Chiropractors are often qualified to provide physical therapy. The chiropractor will do an evaluation, provide education, and create a customized program of physical rehabilitation designed to relieve pain, improve mobility, correct posture, and build muscle strength. A physical therapy program may include things like corrective exercise (weight lifting, stretching, foam roller exercises etc.), ice therapy (cryotherapy), and electrical muscle stimulation.

Nutritional services

Some chiropractors also provide a nutritional counseling service. The chiropractor will evaluate the patient’s diet and perform assessments such as organ functioning and food sensitivity tests.  A nutrition program, often including detoxification and nutritional supplements, will then be designed plan to address any systemic deficiencies and meet the patient’s nutritional needs.

Whiplash

A colloquial not medical term, whiplash is a word used to describe any injury to the ligaments, tendons or muscles of the neck that results from a jerking or whip-like movement. Whiplash is usually caused by a car accident – an estimated one million cases a year – but it can also be the result of a fall, sports injury, work injury or assault. Sometimes, repetitive motion, such as holding the phone with your head can even cause whiplash. 

Symptoms of whiplash can range from mild aches that last a few days to severe pain and stiffness that won’t go away.  You could also experience swelling, headaches, jaw tightness, fatigue, nausea or muscle spasms. Severe cases of whiplash could include impaired vision, ringing in the ears and other nerve related symptoms. 

Treatment for whiplash can include application of heat or cold packs, pain medication or muscle relaxants, electrical stimulation and/or ultrasound. But these are all relatively short term solutions and may provide only temporary relief.  For serious cases, or those with symptoms lasting a couple months or longer, long term, more permanent solutions are needed. Those could include stretching, exercise and/or chiropractic manipulation. 

In brief, chiropractic manipulation works to return joints to their proper position and alignment through controlled and directed pressure. This is done by a trained, educated chiropractor in a therapeutic setting. In many cases, chiropractic manipulation can relieve pressure and pain in the neck area caused by whiplash. 

If you’ve experienced whiplash from an accident or injury, it is always a good idea to consult with your chiropractor, along with your general practitioner.  There is hope that pain and other symptoms of whiplash can diminish with proper treatment.