Carpal Tunnel Surgery – When Is It Needed?

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Carpal Tunnel Surgery – When Is It Needed?

Carpal Tunnel Surgery is serious business, so it’s best to consider all options before resorting to it. Carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS) often responds well to non-surgical care and there is good evidence supporting chiropractic treatment for CTS.  But the question frequently arises, “When should I consider surgery for my CTS?”  Let’s take a look. . .

When it comes to surgery, each case MUST BE individually assessed.  The factors that increase one’s risk for surgery to resolve their CTS include: 1) EMG/NCV evidence of axonal degenration (nerve damage); 2) muscle atrophy or shrinkage of the thumb pad; 3) acute onset after trauma (especially in fracture or dislocation of the wrist); and 4) after ALL non-surgical attempts have been tried.

Many reading this article may be surprised that CTS can actually be treated without surgery, given the popularity of surgery for this condition.  Further, many may also be surprised that chiropractic can be VERY effective in managing CTS and studies have often demonstrated such care performs as well as or better than standard medical care, without the potentially serious side effects associated with some medications that may be prescribed for the CTS patient.  In fact, in a recent randomized clinical trial published in the Journal of Pain, researchers observed similar improvements in function when they compared the outcomes of patients who underwent surgery vs. those who received manual therapies (such as those performed several times a day at chiropractic clinics around the world) at both six months and one year later.  the improvements included increased strength, function, and decreased hypersensitivity in both the surgical and non-surgical groups.  Interestingly, the manual therapy group did BETTER at the one and three month assessments when compared with the surgical group (again, with no difference at six and twelve months)!

Non-surgical treatment offered by chiropractors may include manipulation and mobilization to the wrist (and the neck, shoulder, and elbow if nerve impingement in these areas contributes the CTS symptoms), as well as stretching exercises multiple times during the work day, taking mini-breaks, workstation modifications (see video below), an anti-inflammatory diet with supplementation, and more.

The BOTTOM LINE is you can always have surgery, so make sure you’ve exhausted ALL your non-surgical options before resorting to surgery!

Related Article:
Carpal Tunnel Syndrome – 6 Facts You Need To Know!

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Dr. Dana Williamson is a chiropractor who has been helping relieve back pain and neck pain of the residents of Mechanicsville, Richmond, Hanover, Henrico, and Glen Allen since 2001.

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This information should not be substituted for medical or chiropractic advice. Any and all health care concerns, decisions, and actions must be done through the advice and counsel of a health care professional who is familiar with your updated medical history.
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