Chiropractor Chandler AZ
Carpal tunnel syndrome is a very common condition that affects muscle strength, coordination, and sensation in the thumb and adjacent two fingers. Many people are familiar with carpal tunnel syndrome because of its prevalence in today's society, since we utilize the arm and wrist in many of our home and work activities. With overuse or chronic repetitive activities we injure muscles, tendons, and ligaments within the carpal tunnel.
The carpal tunnel is a combination of the wrist carpal bones and a ligament that helps contain the tissues that travel through the tunnel. If a tendon or ligament is damaged within the carpal tunnel, it results in inflammatory chemicals being released that trigger the accumulation of fluid or swelling. Unfortunately the carpal tunnel cannot expand with accumulating fluid, and the result is compression of the softest tissue within the tunnel. All nerves are fragile, and this fragile median nerve travels through the tunnel to innervate the thumb, second, and third fingers.
Traditional treatment for carpal tunnel involves decreasing the inflammation and cause of accumulating fluid within the carpal tunnel. Cortisone injection or steroid injections can be placed inside the wrist to minimize the inflammatory pathways. In addition, combination treatments of ice, heat, electric, ultrasound, light stretching, and exercise are used in physical therapy to promote healing of the wrist tendons and ligaments.
Massage therapy is often utilized in carpal tunnel treatment because of its effectiveness on the wrist flexors and extensor muscles. In people with chronic, repetitive injuries, muscles become injured and spasmed. The wrist flexors and extensor spasms result in compression of the carpal bones, which further contributes to the irritation and accumulation of fluid within the carpal tunnel. Massage therapy helps decrease muscle spasms promotes healing and repair.
Low-level laser therapy, or cold laser therapy, is an excellent treatment for carpal tunnel because of its effect on inflammation and promoting regeneration and healing. It decreases inflammation and fluid accumulation by shutting off the mechanisms and pathways that promote inflammation. By stopping the inflammation of these chemical markers, swelling will decrease over time. Different wavelengths and frequencies also stimulate repair and healing processes in muscles, tendons, ligaments, and nerves. In carpal tunnel, many of these tissues are injured and damaged which result in much of the pain and hand limitation.
Any treatment that accelerates repair and regeneration will decrease overall recovery times. Low-level laser therapy is an excellent treatment for any muscle and tendon injury, and it is a great treatment for nerve injuries. Laser therapy has been shown to accelerate nerve regeneration and healing by accelerating the nervous repair processes. Damaged nerves heal much faster when exposed to low-level laser therapy than without it.
Carpal tunnel syndrome is a difficult injury to completely heal and recover from. Many times patients return to the normal activities too soon and re-damage tissue, flaring up their hand pain, numbness, and tingling. This is more common in carpal tunnel because one of the injured tissues is the median nerve. Nerves can take a very long time to heal and most people exacerbate their injury several times before the nerve is fully able to regenerate.
Applying low-level laser therapy to carpal tunnel will reduce the likelihood of recurrences and exacerbations because of the accelerated nervous tissue repair. Cold laser is an excellent treatment for any nerve entrapment or compression syndrome. Carpal tunnel syndrome is one of the most common nerve entrapment conditions, and cold laser therapy continues to show tremendous benefit in the overall recovery and reduction of hand pain, numbness, and tingling felt with carpal tunnel syndrome.