Local chiropractor offers alternative measures for CTS
By Jacquie Maxwell/REGISTER-HERALD REPORTER
Carpal tunnel syndrome is a malady that affects one out of every 10 people – nearly 8 million nationwide.
“Repetitive, tight movements, such as working at keyboards or gripping and tightening of hands, cause the disorder,” said Dr. Daniel Boggs of Kominsky Chiropractic in Oak Hill.
Technically, carpal tunnel syndrome occurs when the median nerve – which extends from the neck down the forearm and into the hand – becomes compressed. The carpal tunnel is located where the forearm connects to the hand – the wrist. Women are five times more likely than men to have CTS because their carpal tunnels are narrower, Boggs said.
CTS is listed as the top reason Americans miss work, Boggs said.
He stresses the importance of diagnosing and treating the symptoms before the condition escalates. Because the symptoms typically start at night, people suffering with carpal tunnel may wake with the sensation that their fingers are swollen. Boggs explained that pain, weakness or tingling in the hands or fingers can suggest the beginnings of the syndrome. If symptoms remain untreated, they can worsen, extending from the hands to the arms and neck.
Fortunately, once a conclusive diagnosis has been made, effective treatments can ease the suffering, Boggs said.
He discussed the advantages of using chiropractic treatments over standard medical treatments that often involve drug therapy and/or surgery. Boggs said he believes all avenues should be exhausted before a patient commits to surgery. As with any type of surgery, there are certain risks that should be properly assessed, Boggs said. For example, scar tissue can build up following surgery and can cause compression on the median nerve to again occur in the carpal tunnel. This means CTS can return after surgery.
Chiropractors prefer to handle CTS differently than medical doctors, Boggs said.
He described different techniques that can be used inside the office or at home. One particular tool that has proved helpful for some CTS patients is the wrist trac – a traction device worn on the hand.
“This device elongates soft tissue structures within the median nerve,” Boggs said. He also gives patients Vitamin B6, and he teaches patients stretching exercises they can perform at home.
With all these non-surgical techniques, Boggs says he hopes patients can avoid surgery.
“I always recommend conservative measures before surgery,” Boggs said.