Carpal tunnel syndrome is a common condition among men and women of all ages.
Most people associate carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS) with repetitive hand movements – like clicking a computer mouse, typing, or playing piano. However, there’s much more to know about carpal tunnel syndrome.
Today, we’re explaining some of the myths, facts, and truths about carpal tunnel syndrome – including things you need to know about CTS.
Myth #1: I don’t type or play piano so I can’t get carpal tunnel syndrome
Most people associate carpal tunnel syndrome with typing, playing piano, or performing other small finger movements.
It’s true: some carpal tunnel syndrome cases are linked to repetitive typing, piano playing, or finger movements.
However, carpal tunnel syndrome is linked to far more than just piano playing and typing. People develop carpal tunnel syndrome by riding a motorcycle or bike, for example. Some people develop CTS from tennis or golf.
In some cases, carpal tunnel syndrome is not linked to any specific hand movement or activity. It simply develops over time when a similar motion is repeated.
Some people can spend their whole lives at a computer and never experience CTS symptoms. Others will type for a few straight months at a new job and develop CTS. Simply performing an activity does not necessarily lead to the development of CTS.
Myth #2: Carpal tunnel syndrome only affects my wrist and hand
Most people associate carpal tunnel syndrome with the wrist and hand, although its effects can be felt all over the body. Carpal tunnel syndrome can start in the neck and shoulders, for example, radiating down the arms into your hands.
In some CTS sufferers, it’s difficult to localize the sensation of CTS. They might feel tingling all down their arms and into their wrists and hands, for example.
Myth #3: Carpal tunnel syndrome is permanent, and I can’t treat CTS
This myth is only partially true. If diagnosed early, it’s possible to reverse symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome.
After a certain point, however, carpal tunnel syndrome can cause serious, permanent damage to your hand, fingers, and thumbs.
If you are experiencing symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome, then it’s important to seek treatment early. A chiropractor or other professional can target symptoms of CTS, using proven therapies to restore sensation to the affected area.
Myth #4: I can only treat CTS with surgery
Some patients require surgery to alleviate carpal tunnel syndrome, but other patients relieve symptoms with no surgery required. In many patients, recovering from CTS is a non-invasive process that requires simple therapies or treatments.
Some medical experts recommend wearing a wrist brace to alleviate CTS, for example. Some wear a wrist brace at night to relieve CTS symptoms the next day. Others wear a wrist brace during certain activities – like when typing on a computer, where you’re more likely to flex your wrist.
Common therapies for carpal tunnel syndrome include:
- Resting the wrist
- Avoiding heavy wrist usage or repetitive movements
- Wearing a wrist brace
- Using ice
- Taking NSAIDs or diuretics
- Getting a steroid injection
- Taking an oral corticosteroid drug like prednisone
- Following other treatment or therapy plans recommended by a medical doctor or chiropractor
More severe carpal tunnel syndrome cases may require surgery. Many cases, however, can be managed when caught early using one of the therapies above.
Myth #5: My hand or wrist is tingling so it must be carpal tunnel syndrome
If you experience tingling or numbness in your hands, then you might assume it’s carpal tunnel syndrome. That may be the case – or it may not.
Some people experience tingling or numbness due to poor circulation, cardiovascular issues, or nerve pain (neuropathy), for example. Some people have ulnar tunnel syndrome, De Quervain’s tenosynovitis, trigger finger or snapping finger, or cubital tunnel syndrome, among other similar conditions.
To diagnose carpal tunnel syndrome, a doctor might ask if you feel pain or numbness in specific parts of your hand. Most people experience CTS in their thumb, index, and middle fingers, for example, but you will not feel tingling in your right or pinky fingers.
You may also notice CTS at different times of day. Most people experience more severe CTS symptoms at night, for example – especially if your wrist and hand were active all day.
Myth #6: Everyone has an equal risk of CTS
People have different risks of CTS depending on many factors. Diabetes appears to play a role in developing CTS, for example, as do certain types of arthritis, including psoriatic arthritis and rheumatoid arthritis.
Women also seem much more likely to develop CTS than men. Statistics show that approximately 75% of CTS patients are women.
Carpal tunnel syndrome is more common among older patients, although the average patient may not be as old as you think. CTS is commonly diagnosed in patients between ages 50 and 70, for example, and is less commonly diagnosed in older men and women.
Speak with a Chiropractor About Your Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
At Renew Chiropractic in Lakewood, Colorado, patients can relieve carpal tunnel syndrome symptoms with customized therapies. Experienced chiropractor Dr. Jason Jumper has a proven track record of relieving symptoms of CTS without requiring invasive surgery.
Schedule a free consultation today. Many are surprised to discover how effectively chiropractic therapy can relieve symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome.