Back in Balance Family Chiropractic

Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

By: Adam Renelt, DC

Updated 3/5/2024

Carpal tunnel syndrome is a frequent condition that our Sioux Falls chiropractors are asked about. It is a very common condition that affects millions of people per year.  The “carpal tunnel” is located in the wrist and has nerves, tendons and blood vessels that pass through, to the hand. The median nerve is one of the structures that passes through that tunnel.  When the median nerve is compressed as it passes through the carpal tunnel, it is called carpal tunnel syndrome.  The median nerve is the nerve supply of the thumb, index finger, middle finger and part of the ring finger.  When the nerve is compressed, these are the areas of the hand that are typically affected.

Causes and Symptoms of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

Carpal tunnel syndrome is more common in people that perform repetitive movements at work or for leisure. Many people think of manual labor jobs as being the biggest risk factor but office workers that spend a lot of time on a computer are at risk also.  In some cases, trauma may play a role, but repetitive tasks and posture are more common causes of symptoms.  Often, the symptoms may start out as mild with some tingling or pain in the hand.  Also, waking up with your hands asleep or numb can be a symptom of carpal tunnel syndrome.  If these symptoms are recognized and posture and activity modification occur, the symptoms may improve. Unfortunately, with no attention, the symptoms may progress and get worse for many people.  Dropping things, loss of muscle strength in the hand and feeling clumsy can be signs of worsening carpal tunnel syndrome. 

Chiropractic and the Carpal Tunnel

When someone first suspects they may have carpal tunnel syndrome it is important to see a health care provider for an evaluation.  Then, an examination will be performed. This may include orthopedic/neurologic tests, muscle testing, imaging, and/or nerve conduction velocity tests.  As chiropractors, we will assess the spine and the wrist/elbow for subluxations, or misalignments, that may be affecting the median nerve. A subluxation in the neck can affect the nerves down the arm and play a role in carpal tunnel symptoms. Also, wrist misalignment may play a role in carpal tunnel syndrome. If subluxations are found, we will typically perform a chiropractic adjustment to try to improve the function of the joints and nervous system.  Recommendations on stretching exercises and wrist/hand posture may also be discussed.  A brace may be recommended when working or sleeping to help keep the wrist in a neutral position.  Often, chiropractic care can help a patient’s symptoms. If no improvement occurs, we may refer to an orthopedic surgeon for possible surgical or physical therapy evaluation. 

Schedule Your Appointment

If you think that you may have carpal tunnel syndrome and would like to try chiropractic care for your symptoms, please contact our office.  One of our chiropractors would be happy to meet with you and perform an evaluation. We will let you know if we think chiropractic care may be beneficial in your case and what our recommendations for care are. We are accepting new patients in the Sioux Falls region and would welcome the opportunity to try to help you.

Adam Renelt, DC is the founder of Back in Balance Chiropractic. Dr. Adam grew up on a farm in South Dakota and received a Bachelor’s degree from the University of South Dakota in 2004. In 2007 he graduated from Palmer College of Chiropractic with his Doctorate of Chiropractic degree and started his career in private practice. He lives in Sioux Falls with his wife and son.  In his free time he enjoys reading and being outdoors, mountain biking and hiking.

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