Carpal Tunnel Surgery
Surgery for Carpal Tunnel Syndrome has become one of the more often-performed procedures for those with the symptoms of numbness in their fingers and hands, but when does this surgery really have the best results and when might it not be necessary?
Carpal Tunnel Diagnosis and Correction
In someone with Carpal Tunnel Syndrome, there is a bone in the wrist that isn’t moving as well as it should. Constant repetitive hand motion often knocks the bone off its hinge and irritates the nerve running between the thumb, index finger and part of the middle finger, causing numbness in those three fingers and sometimes in the hand. These are the primary symptoms of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome.
This repetitive motion puts so much pressure on the nerve that the body tries to prevent continued irritation to that nerve by self-casting the bone and totally immobilizing it. It does this by building up layers of scar tissue around the nerve, which then causes the numbness associated with CTS.
In this situation, surgery solves the problem. The surgeon opens you up, clips the scar tissue built up around the nerve and the symptoms go away. It’s like cleaning cobwebs out of a corner.
Sometimes, however, the surgery doesn’t help.
When Surgery Won’t Work
Many people seek out a chiropractor after failed carpal tunnel surgery. Upon evaluation, it’s found that the problem was not in the wrist at all but rather in lower part of the neck. The nerve that ends in the area of the thumb, index finger and middle finger – the one associated with Carpal Tunnel Syndrome – originates all the way up in the lower neck area. A neck vertebrae or bone that isn’t moving too well can also put pressure on this nerve and cause the same symptoms as CTS.
You would think it makes more sense that a nerve issue in the neck would cause pain in the shoulder or elbow, but that’s not how the body works. It picks and chooses the areas that it wants you to know are hurting. You might get pain in these areas or in the neck, but you might also get numbness in your hands and fingers.
So if you have Carpal Tunnel surgery when the problem is an irritated nerve in the neck, it’s easy to see why that surgery wouldn’t work.
Get A Thorough Evaluation Before Surgery
Chiropractors generally tell people considering Carpal Tunnel surgery to make sure their neck is also properly evaluated to determine if that could be causing the same symptoms as CTS.
Having a problem just in the wrists is very rare. If you think you might have CTS but also have a history of neck issues such as whiplash from a car accident, periodic headaches or general neck pain, these all need to be checked out.
If you are a line worker or sit all day at a desk, you are in a typical profession that develops neck issues. Sitting at a computer with bad posture or standing and repeating the same motion all day can cause lots of problems with the neck including pressure on the nerve that runs to the hands.
It’s important to hold off on surgery until every possibility has been explored. Your general practitioner may not be fully trained on the various causes of hand numbness and will decide that your symptoms indicate CTS. You’ll then be sent to a specialist who will often make the same assumption and perform surgery. If your doctors don’t order a proper evaluation, including x-rays and MRIs of the neck, they may miss the real issue entirely.
One way to ensure a proper diagnosis is to find a good chiropractor who can help you determine whether something in your neck is causing your symptoms. Virginia Beach chiropractor Dr. James Maggio is extremely experienced in diagnosing and treating neck issues as well as Carpal Tunnel Syndrome. Contact him for an evaluation before you go ahead with any surgery.
Is Surgery The Right Answer?
Surgery can often be an invasive demanding and dangerous process. There are many cases where surgery is necessary and greatly benefited from. However, there are also many cases that surgery can be avoided. Chiropractic care is a less invasive treatment that should be explored prior to surgery.
One major benefit to chiropractic care is it incorporates the entire body. You may have a problem in your wrists that is merely a symptom, and the source of your pain is in your back. Whereas surgery may temporarily solve your wrist issue, the source of the problem goes untreated.
Carpal Tunnel Syndrome is typically a result of repetitive motions of the hand and wrist. Signs of carpal tunnel syndrome include pain, numbness, or tingling in the hand and wrist. Carpal tunnel syndrome is becoming more and more common due to more and more people working at a computer for longer periods of time. Even if you do not work at a computer many jobs require repetitive motions that can lead to carpal tunnel syndrome.
Herniated Disks or commonly known as ruptured or slipped disks, occur when disks slip from their place, into the spinal canal. This creates nerve pressure and causes pain. There are many different degrees of herniated disks. You may have a herniated disk, and not even know it. However, you may also be in excruciating pain due to a herniated disk. Herniated disks can cause a number of problems to your body including pain; lose of function to extremities, and even problems with your bowels.
Surgery is often recommended in extreme cases of herniated disks. While surgery may present a solution to your problem, it may also come with complications and dangers that need a second look. Most herniated disk surgeries consist of either bone fusion, or disk replacement with an artificial prosthesis. These are life-altering events that need to be considered carefully.
Surgery may be the end result to your struggle with carpal tunnel, or a herniated disk, but it should never be your first option. In most cases non-surgical treatments should be considered first. Seeing a chiropractor is a necessary step if you suffer from carpal tunnel, a herniated disk, or any ailment that you think requires surgery.
A chiropractor will give you the knowledge to help you better understand your condition, and empower you with a plan for treatment.