Carpal Tunnel Syndrome or Repetitive Stress?

You're getting ready to launch your new business. And, being a savvy entrepreneur, you've been spending a lot of time doing research on the Internet. Entering searches, following links, cutting-and-pasting, typing, mouse-clicking, dragging-and-dropping.

By the time you're ready to "go live" you've begun to notice a dull ache in your wrist (the one that does most of the mouse-ing). There's an annoying tingling sensation in your thumb and the tendons in your forearm hurt whenever you move your fingers.

"Oh, no," you think. "I've got carpal tunnel syndrome."

However, the news is probably not as bad as that. It's much more likely you've developed repetitive stress syndrome, which can be effectively treated by a chiropractor.

Repetitive stress syndrome is often misdiagnosed as carpal tunnel syndrome by family physicians, internists, and even many orthopedists. The doctor thinks, "wrist pain and thumb pain, must be carpal tunnel". This path of least resistance leads to much unnecessary neurologic testing, needless medication, and unwarranted surgeries.

Real carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS) is actually uncommon, usually associated with pregnancy, rheumatoid arthritis, or decreased thyroid activity.1,2 Also, pain is more noticeable at night, rather than during activity. Finally, a quick test for CTS is to place the tips of your thumb and index finger together, forming a circle. Hold the circle closed while another person tries to pry your fingers apart. If your fingers are strong and can keep the circle closed, you probably don't have CTS.

The wrist, tendon, and forearm pain most of us experience after too much time at the computer is due to repetitive stress syndrome (RSS) - basically, too much of the same activity repeated frequently over too long a time. These new pains can be very uncomfortable and cause significant limitation and frustration.

The primary solution is rest and avoidance of the irritating activities. In practice, rest can mean relative rest.3 One key approach for computer-related repetitive stress is to begin using the opposite hand to do mouse or trackpad activities. This may take a while, but it's a highly effective method. And, once your non-dominant hand gets up to speed, you've got two hands that are smart, not only one!

What about chiropractic treatment? Several trouble spots may contribute to RSS, particularly tight shoulder and neck muscles. Your chiropractor will do a complete physical examination and determine the sources of the problem.

Treatment may include gentle chiropractic manipulation to improve the mobility of your neck and remove stress from that area of your spine. Trigger point therapy will relieve pain and relax tight muscular "knots" in your shoulder girdle and forearm.

Treatment combined with relative rest and rehabilitative exercises will likely result in rapid improvement - decreased pain, greater mobility, and a renewed focus on the work you want to get done, rather than the pain that is getting in your way!

1Source: National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke - http://www.ninds.nih.gov/disorders/carpal_tunnel/detail_carpal_tunnel.htm.
2Piazzini DB, et al. A systematic review of conservative treatment of carpal tunnel syndrome. Clin Rehabil 21(4):299-314, 2007.
3Akuthota V, et al. Shoulder and elbow overuse injuries in sports. Arch Med Phys Rehabil 85(3 Suppl 1):S52-58, 2004.

No form settings found. Please configure it.

Office Hours

Our Regular Schedule

Monday:

9:00am - 1:00pm

3:00pm - 6:00pm

Tuesday:

By Appointment

3:00pm - 6:30pm

Wednesday:

9:00am - 12:00pm

3:00pm - 6:00pm

Thursday:

Closed

Closed

Friday:

9:00am - 1:00pm

3:00pm - 6:00pm

Saturday:

By Appointment

Closed

Sunday:

Closed

Closed

Locations

Find us on the map

TESTIMONIALS

Reviews By Our Satisfied Patients

  • "Dr. Straughn helps me ongoing by keeping my back and neck aligned. I work as a nurse and am on my feet for long periods of time. I do a lot of lifting and pulling as well as computer work. I hardly ever go home with a low back ache like I used to. Thank you Dr. Straughn for all you do!"
    Kathy C.
  • "I am a 15 year old horseback rider. In 2006, I was in a bad horse accident leaving my neck shifted to the left slightly. I visited Dr. Dave 2-3 times a week and after, my neck was straight again. It works! I'm continuing riding. I wouldn't give it up for the world! Thanks Dr. Dave!"
    England F.
  • "At the age of 88, Dr. Straughn has kept me walking and getting around as if I were in my 60's! I am told repeatedly even by strangers. Thanks for all his hel"
    Jean B.

Newsletter Sign Up Information