By Michael Norman DC
Special to The Citizen
Your wrist aches, your hand begins to feel like its asleep all the time, your neck is stiff and tight and then you start dropping things. As it gets harder and harder to work on the computer, carry those trays of food or use your tools at work, you really start to worry. If you can’t work, you can’t pay the bills. Finally, after realizing that not only is it not going away but is actually getting worse, you decide to seek help.
Your family doctor talks to you, does a brief exam and gives you the dreaded diagnosis: Carpal Tunnel Syndrome. You have heard about this condition or even know of another co-worker that was told they had it and you are very upset. Why? Because once they got it, it seems they could never get rid of it. Your doctor takes the time to explain that a nerve that travels through your wrist and powers your hand is being pinched. He tries to alleviate your fears and tells you to try this new anti-inflammatory drug; it should get rid of the problem. Although you are concerned this drug will be the next one on the front page of the newspaper being recalled, what choice do you have? You’ve got to ease this pain in order to keep working.
And some may find temporary relief from the drugs. But then reality hits. It doesn’t last. Before you can even finish the prescription it all starts to come back – the numbness, the pain and the weakness. You make another trip back to the doctor. This time he refers you to a friend of his that specializes is bones and joints.
This time a more thorough exam and even x-rays are done but instead of just drugs you are also prescribed several visits with a physical therapist. If this doesn’t work you are told you may need surgery to release to pressure in your wrist. The therapist gives you a few exercises and fits you with a splint for your wrists.
Again, relief. Hopefully it will last this time. After all you have been through it has to. Sure, the bulky splints take a little getting used to, but you’re feeling better and back to work at last. As time goes by you begin to think that maybe you will be able to put this all behind you.
And then, unbelievably, it returns. The pain, numbness, and weakness are all back in full force. The expense of the surgery not to mention being out of work recovering for 6 weeks is just too much. The worst part is you are not even sure if it is worth the risk. The more people you talk to, the more you hear reports that post-surgery the pain returns again six months or more down the road.
Isn’t there a better solution?
We have all head that the proper diagnosis (knowing what’s actually wrong) is half the cure. Well, what if you only have half the diagnosis? Researchers have now proven that the problem may also be coming from the neck. This condition is called Double Crush Syndrome. The nerve is being pinched in the wrist – that is why you got some temporary relief from the described treatments – but it is also being pinched in the neck. The nerve is getting a double whammy – two pinches or a “Double Crush.”
Most of the pinched nerves in the neck, and even the wrist, are best corrected with chiropractic care. Several tools a chiropractor uses to quickly relieve these pinched nerves in your neck include specific chiropractic adjustments to align the bones, traction devices to stretch the ligaments into proper shape, corrective exercises to strengthen the supporting muscles and retraining in proper posture.
The good news is that research shows these chiropractic tools work. One study done on patients who suffered surgical failure had an 84 percent success rate of pain relief with the chiropractic/medical management combination. Prior to the chiropractic care these patients had been told they would have to live with severe pain. If the patients with the worst-case conditions are experiencing success, imagine what the proper diagnosis could do for you!
Carpal Tunnel Syndrome or Double Crush Syndrome? Ask your local chiropractor. Relief may be closer than you ever thought possible.
Dr. Michael Norman of Key West Spine and Injury practices with an emphasis on spinal corrective care. This approach allows for quick relief and long-lasting recovery from not only Double Crush Syndrome but also many other spinal traumas such as whiplash injuries.