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A Patient's Guide to Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

At Kleefeld Chiropractic many patients present with carpal tunnel syndrome.  Carpal tunnel syndrome or CTS is usually found in people who perform repetitive motions of the hands such as typists, checkout staff or automotive mechanics.

Symptoms

Symptoms usually start gradually with burning and tingling about the palm of the hand especially the thumb, index and middle finger.  Dr. Kleefeld reports that CTS can be especially bothersome at night and patients tend to wake up feeling the need to "shake out" the hand and wrist in an effort to minimize symptoms.  As symptoms worsen, grip strength may be affected.

Diagnosis

Dr. Kleefeld recommends early diagnosis and treatment in order to avoid permanent damage to the median nerve.  The wrist is examined for tenderness, swelling, and discoloration.  Sensation and muscle strength testing is especially important.  During examination pressure and tension in various forms is applied to the median nerve in an effort to reproduce symptoms.  Electrodiagnostic tests performed by a neurologist are occasionally necessary to confirm diagnosis.

man gripping his hand in pain

Treatment

Treatment for carpal tunnel syndrome depends on the severity of the symptoms and its underlying cause.  Dr. Kleefeld offers the following treatment recommendations:

  • Modifying activities to minimize any promotion of symptoms
  • A wrist splint to protect against further aggravation of the median nerve
  • Local application of ice and heat, as indicated.
  • Stretching exercise including "nerve glides" can be beneficial
  • Joint mobilization, if joint dysfunction is noted
  • Physical therapy modalities such as ultrasound to reduce inflammation and interferential current to reduce pain and swelling
  • Surgery is sometimes recommended for persistent or recurrent complaints

If you have any further questions Dr. Kleefeld can be reached at 530-722-9010! 

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