When people hear the term carpal tunnel syndrome, many generally think of typists, factory workers, and other people who have to perform repetitive tasks with their hands. And while it is often classified as a “repetitive use” injury, it can also be caused by sudden trauma, such as in a car accident. Carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS) from a car accident is referred to as acute CTS or traumatic CTS.

CTS can range from mild to debilitating and can cause significant adverse ramifications for accident victims. Insurers often argue claims of this nature, so claimants will need substantial medical documentation to support their case. If you have developed acute CTS after a car accident in Oregon or Washington state, schedule an appointment at Accident Care Chiropractic and Massage to discuss your treatment options.

What exactly is carpal tunnel syndrome?
The carpal tunnel is the small space along the wrist that houses the median nerve, blood vessels, and several flexor tendons that run from the forearm to the palm of the hand. CTS is a condition that arises out of damage to and pressure around the carpal tunnel.

In a car accident, if the structures in the forearm, wrist, and hands such as the nerves, tendons, and muscles sustain damage and become inflamed, the wrist can swell and compress the median nerve, causing CTS. The damage commonly occurs when people brace themselves or tense up and grip the steering wheel just before impact. The impact with the steering wheel and excess force and tension on the wrist area winds up causing damage to the soft tissues.

Symptoms of CTS can include the following:

Aching pain
Tingling
Burning
Itching
Numbness
Weakness in the hands
Reduced grip strength and a tendency to drop things

You may not feel the symptoms of CTS right away; damage to the carpal tunnel can take a while to manifest. On the other hand, you may also notice symptoms straightaway. It is important to seek chiropractic attention immediately after an accident, and thereafter as you experience additional pain, discomfort, and/or limited mobility in your back, neck, or extremities.

What are the effects of CTS?
The symptoms of CTS may come and go, and worsen over time if not treated. Many people find their condition worsens at night, waking them up and causing restlessness, which in turn can contribute to sleep deprivation and persistent grogginess. With numbness and reduced grip strength, it can make daily tasks difficult to perform. It can be impossible to work if your hands are not functioning correctly. Even brushing your hair or teeth can become difficult.

If you suspect that you are developing CTS, you will want to address your concerns with your chiropractic doctor. Your doctor will give you an exam, review your history, and likely order several types of diagnostic tests to see what types of internal damage your wrist may have, as well as to rule out any other conditions.

Depending upon the severity and persistence of your injuries, the following are conservative or invasive treatments for CTS:

Avoiding excess strain to the area and any activities that aggravate your symptoms
Cold packs
Wrist splinting
Kinesio Taping
Physical Therapy

Some patients find relief with additional measures, such as acupuncture and ultrasound therapy.

Chiropractors know that adjustments are good for your general health. Millions of satisfied patients cannot be wrong. But what do chiropractors know that the rest of us do not?

They know the nervous system is the one system in the body that directly affects every other system. This is because nerves conduct sensory information from every part of the body and then delivers this information to the brain. Once there, the brain analyzes the information to determine what the body needs to maintain a healthy state. So the health of this system is paramount to the good health of the rest of the body.

Chiropractors recognize that misalignment in the spine can interfere with proper nervous system function. More specifically, chiropractors study the effects of vertebral subluxations – conditions of the spine where alignment and/or movement patterns of the vertebrae are abnormal. When this occurs, imbalances cause irritation and inflammation. In turn, this can cause interference with information that is transmitted along nerves and spinal cord. Chiropractors are the only health care professionals specifically trained to locate and correct spinal subluxations.

This is the principal reason why chiropractors should be called wellness doctors. Every time a chiropractor corrects a vertebral subluxation, the positive effects are felt in multiple systems simultaneously. Chiropractic Care Promotes Overall Wellness

Where’s the Proof?

For decades, scientific research has focused on the use of chiropractic adjustments for low back pain, neck pain and headaches.(1-3) In fact, there is now clear evidence to recommend chiropractors as the go-to professionals for spinal pain syndromes. However, with the rising popularity of wellness-based philosophies focused on non-traditional approaches to health, chiropractors are being asked to justify their role.

The traditional medical model of symptom-based healthcare is rapidly waning. We no longer feel we have to be sick to call upon a health professional for advice. Instead, we are focusing more on the detrimental effects stress has on our bodies, and the therapies that address the mind-body connection are getting much more attention.

In a recent report from the Center for Disease Control, the four most popular forms of alternative and complementary medicine were listed as: natural products, deep breathing, meditation and chiropractic!(4)

People are casting their votes with their healthcare dollars and chiropractors are taking a leadership role in this new wellness model. As a profession whose core philosophy is about the optimization of the brain-body communication network, chiropractic can be viewed as a therapy with an emphasis on whole body health and wellness

Research is catching up to what chiropractors have known for years. In a recent study that reviewed all the available research to date, investigators found that “chiropractic adjustments, often for the purpose of correcting vertebral subluxation, confer measurable health benefits to people regardless of the presence or absence of symptoms.”(5) More people are seeking what chiropractic offers: optimization of health and an improved quality of life, with a spine free of vertebral subluxations!

In a multi-nation study involving hundreds of chiropractors and thousands of chiropractic patients, researchers sought to measure the incidence of non-musculoskeletal responses to chiropractic therapy. What they found was that a number of patients experienced systemic benefits from their chiropractic treatments whether or not they mentioned any symptoms in these areas at the onset of care. The most common benefits reported in this study were breathing (27%), digestion (26%) and circulation (21%).(6)

In yet another ground-breaking study, chiropractic adjustments were shown to actually decrease blood pressure, one of the leading causes for preventable death in North America (in relation to the incidence of heart-attacks and strokes). The study stood up to medical scrutiny and showed unequivocally that vertebral subluxations – of the upper cervical vertebra in this case – can be detrimental to the health of the individual, and not just a pain in the neck.(7)

From these research results, chiropractors clearly have a greater role in your health and wellness than just treating sore backs. Chiropractic care should be considered an invaluable tool for you to not only help you feel well, but to also help you be well.

References and sources:

1. Dagenais S, Gay RE, Tricco AC, Freeman MD & Mayer JM. NASS Contemporary Concepts in Spine Care: Spinal Manipulation Therapy for Acute Low Back Pain. Spine Journal 2010 (Oct.); 10(10): 918-940.

2. Bronfort G, Assendelft WJJ, Evans R, Haas M & Bouter L. Efficacy of Spinal Manipulation for Chronic Headache: A Systematic Review. J Manipulative Physiol Ther 2001 (Sept.); 24(7): 457-466

3. Thiel HW & Bolton JE. Predic- tors For Immediate and Global Responses to Chiropractic Manipulation of the Cervical Spine. J Manipulative Physiol Ther 2008 (Mar.); 31(3): 172-183.

4. Barnes PM, Bloom B, Nahin R. Complementary and Alternative Medicine Use Among Adults and Children: United States, 2007. CDC National Health Statistics Report #12. December 10, 2008.

5. Hannon SM. Objective Physiologic Changes and Associated Health Benefits of Chiro- practic Adjustments in Asymptom- atic Subjects: A Review of the Literature. J Vertebral Subluxation Research 2004 (Apr.): 1-9.

6. Leboeuf-Yde C, Pedersen EN, Bryner P, Cosman D, Hayek R, Meeker WC, Shaik J, Terrazas O, Tucker J & Walsh M. Self-reported Nonmusculoskeletal Responses to Chiropractic Intervention: A Multi- nation Survey. J Manipulative Physiol Ther 2005 (Jun.); 28(5): 294-302.

7. Bakris G, Dickholtz M, Meyer PM, Kravitz G, Avery E, Miller M, Brown J, Woodfield C & Bell B. Atlas Vertebra Realignment and Achievement of Arterial Pressure Goal in Hypertensive Patients: A Pilot Study. Journal of Human Hypertension 2007 (May); 21(5): 347-352.

 

Accident Care Chiropractic & Massage

 

What do you get if you combine stress, repetitive activities, and poor posture? As a result, you get tension headaches.

They encircle your head like a too-tight crown. Fortunately, you can do a lot on your own to prevent or relieve tension-type headaches.

A Recipe for Trouble

Work pressures, relationship stress and other life challenges can cause tension headaches.

When you add repetitive activities and poor posture to the mix, the pain starts in your neck and shoulders, slowly travels up the base of your skull, and then wraps around your head.

For instance, the following activities can contribute to tension headaches:

+ Constantly looking down at your cell phone
+ Working at a computer all day
+ Driving for hours without rest
+ Playing video games for hours
+ Clenching your jaw at night or during the day
+ Sleeping on your stomach

These activities overstretch the muscles on the back of your neck and weaken them, increasing your susceptibility to tension headaches. The second part of the problem is that using any muscle too much leads to pain – and in some cases – muscle spasms.

Episodic vs. Chronic

Episodic tension headaches are often tied to stressful events. They typically come on quickly and are fairly painful. These headaches resolve once the stressful event is over or when you take over-the-counter medication.

Chronic tension headaches can recur daily. They may come on as you wake up or after a long day of work or activity. The muscles in your neck and scalp tend to stay contracted. Pain and tightness develop on both sides of the head, in the forehead and at the base of the skull.”

7 Ways to Manage Tension Headaches

+ Minimize stress. Try to avoid or limit stressful events as much as possible.

+ Take breaks. Limit the time you spend looking down at your phone. Also, take breaks on long drives.

+ Adjust the way you sleep. Try sleeping on your back or on your side with a body pillow and your neck in neutral posture.

+ Exercise and stretch. Use a therapy cane or a hard therapy ball to massage out or stretch your neck and shoulder muscles.

+ Consider drug-free treatment. Try massage therapy, chiropractic treatment, physical therapy, or acupuncture.

+ See a dentist. If you’re clenching your jaw and getting headaches, look for a dentist knowledgeable about temporomandibular joint (TMJ) syndrome. The right mouth guard can really help.

What about rubbing your temples when a tension headaches starts to build — does it help? Muscle tension varies, so rubbing on your temples may not bring relief, but rubbing on the tender spots, or trigger points, in your neck and shoulder muscles can help.

If tension headaches don’t go away after trying these suggestions, it may be time to look at the psychological stress in your life.

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