How do I get a carpal tunnel diagnosis in the Anchorage area?
Within the medical system, carpal tunnel syndrome can be diagnosed by a number of health care providers, including primary care medical providers, orthopedists, and neurologists.
These providers may take an x-ray of the wrist and hand, or order something called a nerve conduction test to determine which nerve in the hand may be involved. If there are other problems in the hand or arm that has CTS, then the doctor may order an MRI as well.
If the doctor can move and stress your wrist in certain positions and causes carpal tunnel syndrome symptoms, then you may get a diagnosis of CTS, even without an x-ray, MRI, or nerve conduction test.
At our Anchorage chiropractic practice, we limit our diagnosis to subluxations of the spinal column. However, we can test your wrist in all of the same ways and let you know if another doctor would consider your symptoms carpal tunnel syndrome.
What else could be causing my carpal tunnel problems?
There are other named medical diseases that may be influencing your wrist, besides carpal tunnel syndrome. Diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, and certain thyroid problems could be causing CTS like symptoms. Any body process that causes you to retain water could also be felt at the carpal tunnel, including normal processes like pregnancy, or abnormal processes like heart or kidney disease.
In the Anchorage, AK area there are a number of different options you have if you are experiencing carpal tunnel syndrome-like symptoms.
Surgery for carpal tunnel syndrome
The most invasive is carpal tunnel surgery, which slices the tissue of the carpal tunnel in order to create more space for the nerves and blood vessels going from the forearm to the hand. There are open surgical procedures, and there are endoscopic surgical procedures.
Many people respond positively to surgery, but it is difficult to tell who will respond well.
All surgeries have risks, and there are some complications for carpal tunnel surgery, including the feeling of pins and needles in the hands, injuries to the palm, reflex sympathetic dystrophy, and loss of strength.
If someone continues to have a job with repetitive stress to the hand and wrist, surgery may not be the best option as the conditions that lead to the CTS are still going to be present. Also, the stress that caused CTS may also be causing neck, shoulder, and elbow problems as well, which will not be helped by a carpal tunnel surgery.
Medications for carpal tunnel syndrome
Anti-inflammatory medications are often recommended for CTS. The hope is to decrease the inflammation in the carpal tunnel, after which the symptoms may go away on their own. Steroid injections are often recommended as usual over the counter pain medications are not believed to be helpful.
Splints for carpal tunnel syndrome
Splinting the wrist to reduce motion and stop flexion is one of the most recommended non-surgical options for CTS. Anything that limits the movement involved in the CTS symptoms should also be an option. For example, if typing leads to CTS symptoms, then typing should be reduced or avoided to reduce the inflammation in the carpal tunnel.
Evidence suggests that vitamin B deficiencies play a role in nerve pain, and can play a role with true carpal tunnel syndrome. Results may take several months with vitamin B supplementation.
Some medical sources say that chiropractic is not a known help for those with carpal tunnel syndrome. But that has more to do with a lack of funding for chiropractic research than it does lack of results. There are no large-scale trials examining chiropractic care for carpal tunnel syndrome. But there are plenty of case studies and reports from patients showing improvement under chiropractic care, especially if the carpal tunnel is not serious enough to be causing the muscles to waste away in the hands.
There are very important reasons why nerve pain in the hands, from CTS or another condition should get attention from a chiropractor. And upper cervical chiropractic care like we practice at Rumsey Spinal Care is often a top choice among patients looking for non-surgical options for carpal tunnel syndrome.
Keep reading why in our next article on the neck’s involvement in carpal tunnel syndrome.