Carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS) has become one of the leading disorders of the musculoskeletal system for both office workers and manual laborers. People who type at a keyboard or perform other manual tasks for long periods of the day are subject to the receptive stress conditions leading CTS development. Statistics on CTS are as follows:
- The average CTS patient seeking standard medical care is projected to lose about $30,000 in medical bills and work absenteeism over their lifetime.
- The largest amount of work time lost due to work related injuries is due to CTS with nearly half of reported cases adding up to 31 or more days of lost work time.
- CTS is the most well-known of repetitive-stress injuries with figures from 1994 approaching 850,000 new cases, as reported by the National Center for Health Statistics.
- Workers claiming CTS on average are compensated three times as much in paid-time off compared to other work injury claimants.
- The micro tasks involved in repetitive motion stress is one of the highest ranked causes of workplace injury, attributed to 85 percent of the total cost of workplace injuries.
- According to a 2011 Bureau of Labor Statistics Report worker’s compensation costs for CTS amounted to $2 billion.
CTS is caused by repetitive motions of the hand wrist squeezing into the median nerve that runs through the forearm and into the palm of the hand. The wrist acts as sort of tunnel for this nerve and constant pressure on this “tunnel” compresses the nerve causing pain to radiate throughout the hand and arm. Research has shown work actions requiring pinching-like motions of the fingers or grip power are most likely to cause carpal tunnel syndrome. Flexion of the wrist and hand, however, cause little pressure on the median nerve and in some cases my even help relieve pain from CTS.
More recent research has revealed another factor in CTS. Cytokines, or organic bodies produced when inflammation of tissues is present, appeared when motions that develop CTS were encouraged in rats. The role inflammation plays in CTS is a new area of study.
Chiropractic care does not cure CTS. Chiropractic care is the treatment of restricted joints which once corrected may have far reaching effects on the entire body. Correcting restricted joints leads to improved body functions such as better blood flow, organ function and improved immune response. A body fuctioning at optimal levels is better equipped to deal with CTS. Pair chiropractic care with rest and proper stretching when dealing with CTS.
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