“The American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons estimates that carpal tunnel costs $27 billion annually in medical treatment and lost income,” King said. Carpal is a Latin word that means relating to the wrist, and the tunnel in question is an opening formed by the wrist bones through which pass the nerves, blood vessels and tendons that serve the hand.
When one or more of the bones forming the tunnel should be disturbed, inflammation results and the hand’s nerve function is reduced. Also, carpal tunnel syndrome can be worsened when certain bones in the neck lose their normal motion or position. These bones allow passage to the spinal cord of the median nerve, which controls the thumb, index finger and parts of the middle and ring fingers, and which itself passes through the carpal tunnel.
Common carpal tunnel symptoms include aching of the hands and wrists, numbness and tingling of the hands, trouble holding objects, and lessened hand strength. Women between the ages of 40 to 60 are most likely to develop the condition, but it affects men as well, and people of all ages and occupations.
“Chiropractic care offers exciting opportunities to treat carpal tunnel syndrome in a noninvasive way,” said King. “A new study shows chiropractic to be equally effective to medical care, without the need for surgery. Surgery should be the last resort. In 80 percent of the cases where surgery has occurred, the symptoms have returned within two years.”