Can Carpal Tunnel Be Prevented? 

Prevent

Carpal Tunnel Syndrome (CTS) is a VERY common condition where the median nerve is compressed or squeezed as it passes through the wrist. One reason that it’s so common is because MANY daily activities require fast, repetitive use of the fingers, hands, and arms, and the friction of the rapidly moving muscle tendons inside the tunnel results in swelling and compression of the nerve. So, can CTS really be prevented?

There are many factors associated with CTS, and some risks can be prevented. For example, some conditions like diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, and IBS increase the risk of CTS. Therefore, it would be safe to assume those who better manage such conditions would have a lower risk for developing CTS.

Due to the many factors associated with CTS, there is no “one size fits all” when it comes to treatment and prevention of CTS. With that said, here are some VERY effective methods:

1)  Ergonomic workstation modifications: Altering the work space (monitor height, keyboard/mouse style, different chair, chair/desk height, etc.) to reduce the number and speed of movements needed to perform commons work tasks.

2)  Rest periods: Insert “micro-breaks” into a busy task. Combine breaks with stretching exercises of the wrist/hand/fingers and vary job tasks between fast and slow repetitive types.

3)  Exercise: Shake the fingers and hands, lean back in a chair with the arms/shoulders stretched back (“Brugger’s Exercise”), move the neck (chin tucks, rotations, etc.), bend the hand/wrist backwards on a wall or the desk’s edge, self-massage and deep tissue release of the forearm and hand muscles. Do regular aerobic exercise (walking, swimming, biking, etc.) several times each week.

4) Posture: Sit up straight, elbows about 90° on height-adjustable arm rests or comfortably at the sides, forearms parallel to the floor; knees level or slightly lower than the hips, feet flat on the floor or on a footrest or box, if needed. Place typing materials at eye level / avoid prolonged head/neck rotation. Use a wrist rest for the keyboard and mouse, and use a headset when on the phone.

5)  Reduce hand tool forces: Choose a tool that allows the wrist to remain neutral. Avoid side to side and flexion/extension wrist positions—especially if they’re prolonged! Tool handles should NOT dig into the palm of the hand or the wrist, and should not have sharp edges. A textured handle can improve grip. Minimize vibration from power tools. Wear shock absorbing gloves. Avoid cold work environments and cold tools.

6)  Diet: Cut down on caffeine and smoking. Avoid obesity—a known risk factor of CTS! Consider an anti-inflammatory diet (Paleo, Mediterranean).

7)  Splints: A wrist cock-up splint at night prevents prolonged faulty positions and REALLY helps!

This is a partial list of preventative measures that can REALLY help. Doctors of chiropractic treat the WHOLE person and can teach you the right exercises, ways to modify your diet, offer manual therapies and modalities, and help guide you in your self-management of CTS, as this can be a lifelong affliction. A multi-modal treatment approach generally works best!

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Pregnancy and Low Back Pain?

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Did you know that 50-72% of women have low back pain (LBP) and/or pelvic pain during their pregnancy but only 32% do something about it? Let’s look closer!
Pregnancy-related low back pain (PLBP) can be a highly debilitating syndrome that accounts for the most common cause of sick leave for pregnant women. In 2004, Americans spent $26.1 billion dollars in an effort to find relief from back pain during pregnancy. Statistics show one out of ten women will experience daily DISABLING LBP for at least two years following delivery.
Because of the limited number of treatment options available for the pregnant woman due to mother and fetus safety, and given the high propensity of potentially disabling PLBP that can significantly limit function and quality of life, chiropractic care seems to be a natural choice for this patient population! Obviously, pharmaceuticals and surgery are NOT appropriate options for the expectant mother, even during the post-partum breast-feeding time period. Chiropractic offers a non-invasive and safe approach to managing lumbopelvic pain that uses many different approaches.
In a 2009 research paper, 78 women participated in a study that investigated disability, pain intensity, and percent improvement after receiving chiropractic care to treat pregnancy-related PLBP. Here, 73% reported their improvement as either “excellent” or “good.” For disability and pain, 51% and 67% (respectively) experienced clinically significant improvement! Researchers followed up with them eleven months later and found 85.5% reported their improvement as either “excellent” or “good!” For disability and pain, 73% and 82% (respectively) experienced clinically significant improvement!
So, what’s causing LBP in pregnant women? Because of the biomechanical changes that occur in the low back and pelvis over a relatively short amount of time during pregnancy, especially in the second and third trimesters, common pain generators include (but are not limited to): the sacroiliac joint, facet joints, shock-absorbing disks, and the many connecting muscles (strains) and ligaments (sprains). During the later stages of pregnancy, the hormone Relaxin prepares the pelvis for delivery by widening the pelvic girdle, which can also be problematic.
Treatment options within chiropractic often include spinal manipulation, lumbopelvic exercises, patient education, posture correction, massage, an SI belt, soft tissue mobilization, and more. Exercises that target the transverse abdominus, multifidus, and pelvic floor muscles help to stabilize the lumbopelvic region. The American College of Obstetricians & Gynaecologists recommends exercise at least three times a week during pregnancy, and studies report NO obstetric complications (pre-term labor, premature ruptured membranes, or changes to maternal or neonatal weight) with exercise.
So, the answer is clear! When PLBP strikes, seek chiropractic care to safely and effectively manage the pain and disability and so you can ENJOY YOUR PREGNANCY!!!
We realize you have a choice in whom 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 requires care for back pain, we would be honoured to render our services.