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Is it Really Carpal Tunnel Syndrome?

Carpal tunnel treatment san franciscoWe have been providing treatment for carpal tunnel syndrome in San Francisco for 21 years now.

At one point during the “Dot-Com” go go years we were know as The Carpal Tunnel Injury Center. During this time we treated over 10,000 cases with “Carpal Tunnel SYMPTOMS”. The most common signs and symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS) are as follows:

  • Arm, Wrist or Hand Pain
  • Numbness or Tingling in the Arm and Hands
  • Weakness of Grip
  • Night Pain
  • Swelling of the Hands and Fingers
  • Pain that radiates from the Hands into the Forearm
  • Elbow Pain
  • Loss of Sensation in the Fingertips

These are the classic signs and symptoms of CTS. True carpal tunnel syndrome is caused by pressure on the Median Nerve in the wrist. The Median Nerve which actually originates in the neck passes through the 8 carpal bones which form a tunnel in your wrist called the “carpal tunnel”. There are also some tendons and blood vessels in the tunnel.

The tendons in the carpal tunnel can get over-worked and become inflamed which puts pressure on the Median Nerve. The carpal bones themselves can lose their proper alignment from trauma or repetitive trauma and put pressure on the Median causing CTS.

Women have a smaller carpal tunnel and are more prone to CTS. Carpal Tunnel is common in pregnant women because they take on water to build and protect the baby and this can cause swelling of the tendons in the tunnel and CTS. Smokers have a much higher incidence of carpal tunnel syndrome. High fat and high salt diets can cause water retention and CTS symptoms. Certain medications can cause CTS symptoms as well. Patients with Diabetes and other diseases (obesity) are more prone to CTS.

Then, there are the occupational risks of jobs that require repetitive motions such as office workers on a computer, hair cutters, meat cutters, assembly line workers. We work primarily with SF Financial District office workers.

Hobby’s such as bowling, tennis, racquetball, knitting, golf, or anything that requires lots of hand motion will also predispose you to carpal tunnel syndrome.

But here’s the deal. In spite of everything I outlined above…only a small percentage of patients that present with carpal tunnel SYMPTOMS actually have carpal tunnel SYNDROME.

Huh!…What do you mean?

Well, here’s why…Pressure on the nerves in the neck that form the Median Nerve (see image above) causes the same symptoms as pressure on the Median Nerve in the carpal tunnel.

That’s right. Just like pressure on a garden hose near the faucet will cause the same symptoms as pressure on the hose near the sprinkler (a decrease in water flow).

Pressure on the median nerve at the source causes the same symtoms as presure on the median nerve in the carpal tunnel.

And you are way more likely to have pressure on the nerves in the neck…what chiropractors call a “Subluxation” or Pinched Nerve, than you are to have true CTS.

The reason for this is simple. As the nerves exit from the bones in the neck they are vulnerable to Subluxations. All the spills and falls we took as a child. Sitting at a desk at school for 12-18 years, sports injuries, car accidents, sitting at a desk all day at work…LIFE!

Yes, just being alive and having an active lifestyle predisposes us to Subluxations in the neck and carpal tunnel symptoms.

If your doctor does not know to look at the neck you may never get the right treatment. And, just because your doctor is able to identify the neck as the source of the problem does not necessarily mean they know how to treat it. This is why we get so many referrals from medical doctors and therapists…our chiropractors know how to treat subluxations and pinched nerves in the neck…and carpal tunnel syndrome.

We use chiropractic adjustments to the neck, arms, and hands, deep tissue laser, Graston and Active Release Techniques, Kinesiotape, Exercises and more. We have perfected our methods over the years and have taught it to other chiropractors as well.

So, if you think you may have carpal tunnel syndrome and would like to find out if we can help…please call 415-392-2225 to schedule an appointment with one of our San Francisco Carpal Tunnel Doctors.

Dr. Eben Davis

Eben Davis

I am a Chiropractor in the San Francisco Financial District specializing in chronic neck, arm and hand pain. I also treat herniated discs using spinal decompression, whiplash, sports injuries, headaches, and Fibromyalgia. My clinic is certified in the use of Deep Tissue Laser Therapy with the LiteCure LCT-1000 for conditions such as shoulder pain, TMJ and Plantar Fasciitis. I have been in practice for over 20 years.

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Hand Pain and the Role of the Neck

Hand pain doctors san francisco 94111We have been providing treatment for hand pain in San Francisco for over 20 years now. During this time we have learned much about the role of the neck when it comes to hand pain and carpal tunnel symptoms.

After-all, the nerves that innervate and control the shoulder, arm, wrist and hand, originate in the neck. The neck is the source of power, energy and life for the upper extremity.

If we were to cut-off the nerve supply from the neck to the hands, the hands would die. If there is diminished nerve supply the hands will malfunction and symptoms will manifest. In order for the hands to function at 100%, they need 100% nerve power. Some of the signs and symptoms of nerve pressure in the neck are as follows:

 

1. Neck Pain

2. Shoulder, Arm, and Elbow Pain

3. Wrist and Hand Pain

4. Numbness and Tingling in the Arms and Hands

5. Weakness of Grip

6. Night Pain

These are also the classic signs and symptoms of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome (CTS). Yes, the same symptoms result from nerve interference between the neck and had as true CTS, which is the result of pressure on the median nerve in the wrist. This is because the median nerve originates in the neck.

Interesting Huh? This is why it is SO important for a doctor to check you from the neck to the fingertips when you have hand pain or any of the other carpal tunnel SYMPTOMS.

There is a subset of chiropractors like us that specialise in the diagnosis and treatment of neck, arm and hand pain. Chiropractic upper extremity experts will incorporate tools such as deep tissue laser therapy, Graston Technique, ART, and upper extremity adjustments, in addition to cervical spine adjustments to remove nerve pressure from the neck to the hands.

Sometimes hand pain will resolve quickly…sometimes it takes a while. It just depends how long your condition has been there and the extent of the damage. One thing for sure…taking pain pills, anti-inflammatory medication such as cortisone injections, and wearing wrist splints, is not going to do much for you if the problem is nerve pressure in the neck from subluxations, bulging or herniated discs, disc degeneration, or muscle spasms.

Physical pressure on nerves (to the hand) requires the removal of the pressure on the nerves or the carpal tunnel symptoms will persist.

If you need help finding a carpal tunnel doctor in your area you can send me an email at ebendavis@yahoo.com and I will try to find a doctor I have trained in your area.

To schedule an appointment with one of our San Francisco Carpal Tunnel Doctors please call 415-392-2225. Mention this blog post for a complimentary consultation.

Serving local 94111 since 1992

Eben Davis

I am a Chiropractor in the San Francisco Financial District specializing in chronic neck, arm and hand pain. I also treat herniated discs using spinal decompression, whiplash, sports injuries, headaches, and Fibromyalgia. My clinic is certified in the use of Deep Tissue Laser Therapy with the LiteCure LCT-1000 for conditions such as shoulder pain, TMJ and Plantar Fasciitis. I have been in practice for over 20 years.

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San Francisco Chiropractor Review: Golfers Elbow

The Executive Express Chiropractic "Patient of the Week" is Tim Cory. Tim was suffering with a painful condition called Golfers Elbow, which is elbow and arm pain due to golfing and other repetitive motions…Tim is an electrician. Tim reports he is feeling much better thanks to our San Francisco Chiropractors and his golf game is much better. Check-out Tim's video review of our services.

          San Francisco Chiropractor Review. Golfers Elbow

To schedule an appointment with one of our San Francisco Chiropractors please call 415-392-2225. Mention this review and use the code 94111 for a complimentary consultation and ice pack.

Eben Davis

I am a Chiropractor in the San Francisco Financial District specializing in chronic neck, arm and hand pain. I also treat herniated discs using spinal decompression, whiplash, sports injuries, headaches, and Fibromyalgia. My clinic is certified in the use of Deep Tissue Laser Therapy with the LiteCure LCT-1000 for conditions such as shoulder pain, TMJ and Plantar Fasciitis. I have been in practice for over 20 years.

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Carpal Tunnel Syndrome and Chiropractic

Carpal tunnel experts san franciscoCarpal Tunnel Syndrome (CTS) is caused by pinching of the median nerve inside the carpal tunnel in the wrist resulting numbness, tingling, and sometimes pain into the hand affecting the index, 3rd, and thumb-side of the 4th finger. Grip strength weakness may occur (usually later in the process), making dropping of items and fine motor activities, like buttoning shirts, challenging. There are many approaches to the treatment of CTS of which surgical release of the transverse carpal ligament is the most common and usually recommended by most primary care physicians when tests support the presence of CTS. But, there are alternative treatment approaches that should be utilized first because the recovery time is less lengthy and grip weakness often occurs post-surgically with approximately a 30% loss of strength. Moreover, the CTS sufferer will lose minimal or no work time when treated with chiropractic approaches, compared to a 2 to 6 week work loss time after surgery, if there are no complications. Bottom line, there are no serious side effects to chiropractic management of CTS so, why wouldn’t you try that first since there are potential side effects to the surgical approach?

            So, what can you expect when you present for chiropractic treatment and management of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome (CTS)?

            The history process includes how the condition started (“mechanism of injury”), the date of onset, activities that make the condition better and worse, the quality of symptoms, the location of symptoms, the severity (0-10 scale usually), and when the condition is worse (such as night time when sleeping). There are special questionnaires that ask about symptom severity and function loss which are scored and used to track progress during treatment. A pain diagram is completed by the patient that illustrates where the patient has pain, numbness or other symptoms on a map of the body.  This is important as frequently in CTS, there are areas in the neck, shoulder, arm as well as the wrist and hand that are present in patients with CTS and successful management of CTS depends on treating ALL areas involved, NOT just the wrist/hand.

The examination of the CTS patient includes observing posture for a forward head position, protracted or rolled forward shoulders, muscle bulk of the arms, and if there is any abnormal spinal curvature or head tilt. The skin is also inspected for lesions, rashes, discoloration, swelling and hair loss. Next is palpation where we determine if there are any subluxations (vertebral and/or extremity joint misalignments) and/or trigger points in muscles including the neck, shoulders, arms and hands. Orthopedic tests are performed where we put the neck, shoulder, arm and hand in various positions to see if the symptoms of CTS change.  These tests give us clues as to which tissues are contributing to the CTS symptoms. For example, applying thumb pressure over the carpal tunnel will often reproduce the CTS symptoms of numbness and/or pain into the index, 3rd, and thumb half of the 4th finger. When we find multiple tests that reproduce the CTS symptoms, we will know what  areas require treatment as frequently, we will find a significant contribution to the CTS symptoms are coming from the neck, shoulder, and/or forearm, NOT JUST the wrist. This is why, in some cases, patients may not have a satisfying result after CTS surgery. Our San Francisco Carpal Tunnel Doctors check from the neck to the fingertips on both sides.

The treatment the CTS patient may expect at the chiropractic office includes manipulation of the neck, shoulder, elbow, wrist and hand. We will often perform muscle release techniques where pressure is applied into the muscles during stretch as well as friction massage. We incorporate Active Release Technique, as well as Graston Technique and Triger Points. The use of a wrist “cock-up” splint at night is very helpful to reduce the frequency of waking up at night due to hand/finger numbness. Various physical therapy modalities such as deep tissue therapeutic laser therapy, electrical stimulation, pulsed magnetic stimulation, ultrasound, and others can also be helpful. Also, we give exercises that are extremely helpful and we frequently discuss job modifications to helps to reduce the repetitive strain that causes and can prolong the condition. We also incorporate custom exercises from stretches to strengthening of the neck, shoulder, arm and hands.

            We realize you have a choice in who you consider for your health care provision and we sincerely appreciate your trust in choosing our service for those needs.  If you, a friend or family member require care for CTS, we would be honored to render our services.

To schedule an appointment with one of our carpal tunnel experts in San Francisco…call 415-392-2225. Mention this blog post for a complimentary consultation.

Related articles: What is carpal tunnel syndrome?

Eben Davis

I am a Chiropractor in the San Francisco Financial District specializing in chronic neck, arm and hand pain. I also treat herniated discs using spinal decompression, whiplash, sports injuries, headaches, and Fibromyalgia. My clinic is certified in the use of Deep Tissue Laser Therapy with the LiteCure LCT-1000 for conditions such as shoulder pain, TMJ and Plantar Fasciitis. I have been in practice for over 20 years.

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