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A popular response to neck pain is taking drugs to cover up the problem (aspirin, analgesics, pain pills) or treating its symptoms (muscle relaxers, massage, hot packs). But neck pain isn't caused by a lack of aspirin or drugs! The chiropractic approach to neck pain is to locate its underlying cause. This begins with a complete case history and thorough examination. Special attention is given to the structure and function of the spine, and its affect on the nervous system.

Is the proper spinal curve present? Are the nerve openings between each pair of spinal bones free and clear? Is the head balanced? Are the shoulders level? These and other considerations are used to create a plan of specific chiropractic adjustments to help improve the motion and position of spinal vertebrae. With improved structure and function, neck pain often diminishes or totally disappears without addictive drugs or harmful side effects!

Due to years of exposure emphasizing the concept, people have come to believe that if they are not in pain then they are healthy. To take this to the extreme would mean that not being told you have glaucoma means your eyes are healthy since you have no symptoms. This line of reasoning can be very costly indeed.

Proper Pain Treatment
Like seeing the oil pressure warning light come on in your car, pain means there is a problem. That pain needs to be checked out and the problem corrected. A doctor's responsibility is to understand why the pain exists and to analyze and treat the cause of that pain, not to just focus on treating the pain.

Science defines pain as a sensation of discomfort, distress or suffering. The degree of pain can actually be measured. For example while childbirth might average 10 units of pain, a toothache might average only 2. Although the degree of pain a person experiences can be scientifically monitored and measured, this still does not explain exactly what pain is.

To start with, pain is a warning! It is a signal of malfunction of some vital body circuitry; a message that something is wrong. Even though the presence of pain means something is wrong, the absence of pain does not necessarily mean we are healthy.

Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

Carpal Tunnel Syndrome is most often caused by pressure on the median nerve just above the wrist. The Carpal Tunnel is named for the area of your wrist containing the carpal bones(shown as pale yellow), the transverse carpal ligament (blue), the median nerve (yellow) and the tendons (red) controlling finger and hand movement. Pressure on the median nerve may occur due to injury (for example, a sudden bending back of the wrist) or sustained pressure from activities like typing/keypunching, chopping, hammering or pushing.

Symptoms
CTS and related strain injuries have a range of similar symptoms. some warning signs are pain (which can be severe), numbness, a tingling or burning sensation, and weakness or loss of grip strength. If you are experiencing these symptoms, you should consult your chiropractor as soon as possible. The earlier CTS is treated, the easier and quicker the recovery.

Treatment
There are many ways to treat CTS depending on the individual severity and other considerations. In most cases, however, chiropractic adjustment of the affected wrist area (and perhaps spinal adjustments) can be very effective.

Some physicians might prescribe medications and/or inject cortico-steroids which many temporarily alleviate pain and swelling, but does not often treat the actual problem, the symptoms usually return. Or, your doctor might recommend surgery especially in extreme cases. However, surgery may lead to scarring of the transverse ligament. The scars can further irritate the median nerve causing the symptoms to reoccur. Surgery may also weaken the ligament and should only be considered if conservative treatment fails to correct the problem.

Am I at Risk?
CTS has become one of the most significant medical problems affecting workers at the turn of the century. The U.S. Dept. of Labor reports that carpal tunnel syndrome and other repetitive motion disorders now account for over 60 percent of all workplace injuries. Computer operators have joined assembly line workers, meat packers, building tradesmen, cashiers, and athletes as victims of repetitive strain injures causing these disorders to be dubbed "the Number One occupational hazard of the 1990's".

Summary
CTS is becoming one of the most widespread of occupational hazards. It can be painful and debilitating. Early treatment can lead to a quicker and easier recovery. Chiropractic treatment is proven to be one of the most effective methods of treatment. Regardless of the treatment, full recovery will only come about by avoiding stressful situations and changing work habits.



 

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