Causes and Symptoms of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome


Carpal tunnel syndrome is becoming a common condition nowadays and people are starting to become aware of it. It is a progressive condition which can cause extreme pain. Carpal tunnel syndrome is happens when a major nerve in the wrist gets compressed. This nerve is the median nerve, running from the fore arm all the way to the hand and manages sensations or feelings of the fingers. The median nerve is housed inside the carpal tunnel, which is a quite narrow passageway at the base of the hand, composed of ligaments and bones. The median nerve can be compressed or squeezed inside the carpal tunnel by various factors, the most common of which is the swelling and thickening of irritated tendons in the wrist. When this nerve is pressed, it causes pain or numbness in the hand and wrist, which can also reach the arms.

Causes of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

There are many possible causes of carpal tunnel syndrome, some of which are still unknown. However, in most cases, carpal tunnel syndrome is normally caused by multiple reasons which collectively increase the pressure and affect the tendons and median nerve in the carpal tunnel.

The most common cause of the condition is congenital predisposition, meaning some people are just born with little carpal tunnels, making even minor swelling cause compression on the median nerve. Other factors which could contribute to the condition are injuries which cause swelling like sprain or fracture, mechanical problems in the wrist joint, and work stress.

Other medical conditions can also cause carpal tunnel syndrome, such as hypothyroidism and rheumatoid arthritis. Sometimes, over activity also contribute to the condition, such as overexertion of the pituitary gland or repeated use of vibrating hand tools.

However, the notion that repetitive hand and wrist motions due to work or leisure activities cause the condition is more of a misconception than a medical truth. These activities are more likely to cause motion disorders, and not carpal tunnel syndrome.

Symptoms of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

Carpal tunnel syndrome is manifested by symptoms such as frequent tingling, burning, or numbness in the palm and the fingers, swelling, and failure to move or flex the hands and wrists. These symptoms often start gradually and people may easily dismiss them as a common cramp or as simply a sign of exhaustion.  However, one should be on the lookout, especially when the symptoms worsen, as when he wakes up at night feeling the need to shake out the hand or wrist, or when he already feels reduced grip strength which makes it difficult for him to make a fist or grasp small objects.  In such cases, there is a great probability that the condition is not merely a common cramp, but already carpal tunnel syndrome.

Carpal Tunnel Syndrome and Chiropractic Care

To reduce the severity of carpal tunnel syndrome and prevent it from ever coming back, a few visits to the chiropractor can help. Through a simple nerve adjustment in the hand, wrist, and arm, the pain should diminish and restore the motion of your hands, enabling you to go back to your usual daily routine.

What You Should Know about Carpal Tunnel Syndrome


How many hours in a day do you spend in front of your computer? Four? Six? More than 10 hours? Are your hands constantly working on the mouse and the keyboard?

Be careful! If you are beginning to feel an unusual pain and numbness in your wrist up to your arm and even your neck, you might be suffering from Carpal Tunnel Syndrome.

This unusual pain is usually felt when pressure is exerted on the wrist’s median nerve and finger tendons which can be found enclosed in a tunnel formed by carpal bones and a membrane. The median nerve found in the Carpal Tunnel controls the thumb, middle, and index fingers.

Any form of inflammation or swelling, or any deformation in the wrist may tighten or distort the tunnel and consequently apply pressure on the median nerve. This is when you begin to feel pain, muscle fatigue, and numbness in the wrist and arm.

Aside from long hours of keyboard and mouse use which involves the repetitive twisting of the hands and wrists and keeps the wrists at an unnatural angel, Carpal Tunnel Syndrome may also originate with a fracture or sprain.

Arthritis which causes the inflammation of membranes that lines and lubricates joints can also lead to Carpal Tunnel Syndrome. As arthritic symptoms are made worse with damp and cold weather, emotional stress, and excessive application of weight, the same agents may also trigger the pain felt when afflicted with Carpal Tunnel Syndrome.

Excessive salt intake during pregnancy which leads to water retention and consequently cause bloating and swelling in the joints, including the wrist, could also lead to Carpal Tunnel Syndrome.

The pain resulting from Carpal Tunnel Syndrome may at first be bearable. But once untreated, the condition could worsen. This could eventually lead to weakness and muscle atrophy. The person afflicted with Carpal Tunnel Syndrome may be unable to lift objects or make a fist.

Effective therapy for Carpal Tunnel Syndrome includes drug intake, exercise, rest, therapy, and chiropractic care. Aspirin which is commonly prescribed for arthritis may be taken as this not only reduces the pain, but reduces the swelling, as well. However, pregnant women should first consult with their physicians before taking in any form of medication.

Regular wrist, elbow, and joint exercises, light massages, as well as the application of warm moist heat may also help relieve Carpal Tunnel Syndrome. However, it is important to consult a physician or chiropractor, especially if the pain persists and recurs as surgery may be necessary in extreme cases.

Chiropractic and Nutrition


Not many people know that one of the major areas of specialization of Doctors of Chiropractic is Nutrition.

Nutrition is a core curriculum in Chiropractic education and takes one year to complete. Chiropractors are licensed by the state board to advise on nutrition and vitamin and supplement therapy.

Chiropractors are better educated and trained in nutrition than most medical practitioners. Nutrition is not a required subject in Medical School. Medical doctors, for example, do not study nutrition unless they take it as an elective. Majority of Oncologists do not study nutrition nor do they know the healing power of vitamins. Yet they are the first to prescribe vitamins and supplements and judge their effectiveness or dangerous effects.

In the course of their education, chiropractors study all the building blocks of the body – from cells, to tissues to organs – and the important roles food and nutrition play in the person’s overall health.

A two-year certified nutritionist has not studied all the nutrition-related subjects a chiropractor has. Neither have most four-year certified nutritionists. These nutritionists’ training are inclined to mainstream medical. They are not as holistic as a chiropractor’s training.

In chiropractic care, optimal nutrition is taught and practiced in conjunction with the application of chiropractic therapy. The approach, which combines the effective chiropractic treatment techniques, proper nutrition, and healthy lifestyle, is seen to bring the best results to the patient.

Nutrition Tips

As part of their holistic healthcare, the Doctors of Chiropractic through the American Chiropractic Association urge patients to observe the following prevention health care and wellness advice:

  • On Lifestyle Change:
  • Do physical exercise for at least 20 to 30 minutes three times a week.
  • Eat out less often to avoid high amounts of unwanted fats and sugar.
  • Control your food’s fat and sugar content by preparing them.
  • Quit smoking and limit alcohol intake. Excessive alcohol and smoking hinder the absorption of nutrients in your body.
  • On Dietary Changes
  • Try eating more raw rather than cooked or canned food.
  • Choose organic food when possible.
  • Take regular amount s of fiber through the food you eat. 25 to 30 grams is recommended.
  • Drink 8 to 10 glasses of water a day and avoid coffee, tea and soft drinks.
  • Go for good vegetarian diet. It can prevent heart disease and other diseases, even cancer.
  • On Vitamins and Supplements:
  • Have your iron and B12 levels checked at least once a year.
  • Dietary supplements should not be considered as substitutes for foods.
  • Supplements when taken properly can greatly help to achieve optimum health.
  • With nutritional supplements, consume dark green vegetables, nuts, seeds and oils. They are good sources of many vitamins and minerals, magnesium, and fatty acids.

Consult a health care practitioner on nutritional health concerns and to determine the best dietary supplements for you. You should, all the more, seek professional help from a health care provider who specializes in nutrition if you have symptoms such as chronic fatigue, headaches or heart problems. Chiropractors are among the best-educated and trained health care providers in nutrition.

What is Pain Management?


Pain is described as an irritating sensation in humans caused by injury – perceived or actual – to body tissues. It produces both physical and emotional reactions to the person in pain. In a way, pain protects our bodies from harm. It is a kind of signal that it sends to the affected person to perform certain actions in this critical situation.

All of us, without exception, experience pain at different points of our lives. Pain is the number one reason patients seek medical help. The degree or level of pain we feel is subjective. Only the individual who experiences the pain can most accurately describe the severity of the pain, and not anybody else. Also, for the exact same pain in one’s body, the level or severity of the pain the person feels may be different, depending on the situation. A good example of this phenomenon is when an athlete gets injured during a game or fight. The athlete may not be bothered by the pain from the injury while the game or fight progresses but only complains about it after the contest. We may feel more or less pain in consideration of our mood, stress level, hunger, or activity.

Types of Pain and Their Causes

Though there are many sources of pain, they can generally be divided into two types – nociceptive and neuropathic   pain.

Nociceptive pain – In this type of pain, injury or damage to the tissue initiates signals to the brain. These signals are relayed through peripheral nerves via the spinal cord. An example is a cut or a broken bone.

Neuropathic pain – This type of pain is caused by an injury or disease that affects the nervous system. This pain can sometimes occur spontaneously without obvious source of the pai.Shingles and diabetic peripheral neuropathy are examples of this type of pai.It is thye type of pain that occurs after a stroke or after the nerves are cut.

Pain Management

Depending on the cause of the pain, pain management can be simple or complicated. Pain coming from root irritation from herniated disk, for example, may simply be treated and alleviated through epidural steroid injection. The same condition, however, may not be solved immediately and may persist. In this case, a wide variety of techniques and services may be needed to treat the pain.  These techniques and services may include the following:

  • Medication management – The aim is to optimize drug therapy and improvement of the condition.
  • Interventional procedures – It involves gaining access to the inside of a patient’s body, as in surgery.
  • Chiropractic therapy – The treatment involves manipulative adjustments to the structures in the patient’s musculoskeletal system, like the spine, to improve nerve function.
  • Physical therapy – The technique involves physical intervention therapy using mechanical force and movement.
  • Acupuncture – This form of alternative medicine involves thin needles inserted into the body at certain “acupuncture” points.
  • Psychological counseling – The counseling pays particular attention to the emotional and health-related aspect of the patient’s condition.
  • Endorsement to other medical specialists – The heath care provider refers the patient to other experts in related fields for a more thorough treatment program.

The patient and the health care provider will work together and will go to great lengths and use these techniques and services towards an effective pain management because pain affects many aspects of the person’s daily life.

Pain Management for Chronic Back Pain


Many people used to just bear the chronic pain they have in their backs and live with it. Other patients who reported their chronic back conditions but without a definitive pathology were sometimes dismissed by health service providers.

Pain left untreated, can interfere with the healing process. It can affect the immune system and may lead to other detrimental conditions.

The discomfort from pain brought about by chronic back pain can impede the rehabilitation process. It can interfere with exercise and cause further psychological distress to the patient. When chronic back pain tends to becomes more difficult to treat, other medical services and alternative treatments are availed of.

Now that lots of research and studies have been done on the subject of pain, we know a great deal about pain and its physiological and psychological basis and the science of pain management is gradually being adopted to provide relief. There is also greater awareness of the importance of dealing with pain seriously among the health community and the public. This is especially true for people who suffer from chronic back pain.

Pain management, also sometimes called pain medicine, aims to systematically examine pain, its diagnosis, evaluation, treatment and prevention and rehabilitation of painful conditions. It puts together many disciplines in science and the healing arts.

Pain Management of Back Pain

Pain management the techniques in treating spine and musculoskeletal conditions maybe employed in the following situations:

  • In the identification of the source of the patient’s back pain
  • To employ a non-surgical but aggressive care program
  • In cases where surgery is considered, to determine the areas to be subjected to surgical procedure
  • To subject patient to rehabilitation program after surgery and allow them to cope with residual pain afterwards

Pain management employs a wide variety of methods and techniques to address pain and disorders causing pain.

Pain Management Techniques

The techniques used in pain management may be grouped according to their degree of intervention and are as follows:

  • Noninvasive, non-drug management. These techniques are not invasive and do not involve the use of drugs. Some of these techniques are:
  • Exercise – aimed at increasing strength, flexibility and restoring normal motion
  • Manual techniques – Chiropractic care, an example, employs manipulative adjustments in affected areas by applying specific force to the joints, muscles and ligaments.
  • Behavioral modification – Optimizes patient responses to back pain through the use of behavioral methods
  • Electrotherapy – Therapy aims to reduce back pain by applying electric simulation at low-volume that activates the sensory nervous system.
  • Noninvasive pharmacologic pain management. These techniques are pharmacologic in nature. Use of pain medications such as analgesics, muscle relaxants, narcotic medications, antidepressants, neuromodulating drugs and anti-inflammatory agents are examples.
  • Invasive pain management. These techniques involve invasive techniques such as surgery.

Clinicalresearch to determine the best pain management therapies in treating back pain are continuing even as we already have a wide selection of techniques available in coping with back pain. The future will hold greater promise of relief for chronic back pain sufferers.

What is Low Back Pain and What are the Causes?


Back pain is one of the most common health conditions people have. It is probably also the most common excuse to be absent from work. Although it can affect all age groups, back pain incidence is most common among the 30 to 60 years old. Almost everyone will have their episode with back pain at one time or another.

Back pain is more specifically called low back pain if it happens anywhere below the ribs and above the legs. Possible sources of low back pain may come from lifting , reaching or twisting movements.

Causes of Low Back Pain

Low back pain has been determined to be caused by any of the following:

  • Stress from overuse, strain on the back muscle, or injury
  • This may include sprains or strains of ligaments and muscles, fracture or compression structures of bones.
  • The pain results after an activity like lifting a heavy load or a sudden movement.
  • Sprain may come from bad posture and awkward position like bending for a long time.
  • Being overweight may aggravate back pain.
  • Aging – Degeneration of the spine joints in people over 60 is common.
  • Herniated disk- The vertebra in the low back slips forward on the disk space below it, causing pressure on nerve roots.
  • Illness – An example is lumbar degenerative disk disease, which causes the breakdown of the lumbar disk, resulting in chronic low back pain, inflammation and muscle spasm.
  • Congenital spine problem
  • Osteoarthritis – It affects the small joints in the spine. It can make the joints stiff and sore and also put pressure on the nerve roots.
  • Arthritis – Ankylosing spondylitis is a form of arthritis, which often affects the spine.
  • Bacterial infection in the spine, bone or spinal cord
  • Spinal tumors – These are growths on the bones and ligaments and could appear on the spine, spinal cord or on nerve roots. This condition usually requires medical emergency.

Diagnosis of Low Back Pain

Chiropractic care is one of the most effective methods available in the treatment of low back pain. When you visit your chiropractor for checkup, you will be asked about your present and past health conditions, the symptoms and activities you do. You will then be put to a physical examination, which may include an x-ray examination of your back. The info you provided plus the results of the examination can help identify the cause for the pain. In most cases, the chiropractic doctor is able to  come up with a treatment plan recommending the most appropriate treatment for your condition, after the first exam.

Most low back problems do not require urgent and long treatment.

We can save our backs while it is not too late. We can do something about the causes of low back pain especially on those we have control over.

Breathe, Relax, and Rejuvenate: De-Stressing the Right Way


Being able to find time for relaxation does wonders to one’s life. In today’s rat race, stress actually diminishes one’s capacity to do productive work. A study conducted by James Gordon, M.D., Director of the Center for Mind-body Studied in Washington, DC shows that too much stress increases one’s susceptibility to illness and disorders such as headaches, migraines, asthma attacks, and back pain, hence reducing one’s capacity to work efficiently. Stress also contributes to a negative self-perception.

So, when you feel that life is moving too fast or you notice that everyone is rushing, take time to stop for a while. It doesn’t always mean that you have to keep up with your officemates’ hasty living, does it?

Take a break and relax! Try these simple tips on how to take a break from this fast-paced life and see positive changes in your lifestyle:

  1. Have quality time for yourself. Spend a couple of minutes just by yourself. Having this quality time need not be expensive. It could be as simple as staying in your room with the door locked while listening to relaxing music. Try this for 10 to 20 minutes every day in order to see significant changes in your stress levels.
  1. Take time to reflect and meditate. Being able to reflect actually helps in reducing stress. Try talking to yourself, while alone, in order to get in touch with your feelings. Thresh out the negative feelings like anger, sadness, and disappointment that you have experienced through the day. You may also do simple meditation – sit upright, close your eyes, breathe in and out, and think of nothing. Doing this, even in as less as 10 minutes, would help you attain a more peaceful disposition.
  1. Connect with pets. Because pets seem to always be there for you and listen to your thoughts, it is always great to keep a pet and connect with it once in a while. If you can and if you have a time to take care of one, try getting a pet. You will notice that the emotional benefits of owning a pet are immense.
  1. Connect with friends and family. Often, when you get too occupied with work and daily engagements, you forget about the people close to your heart. Reconnect with them and spend quality time together. Plan a day out for shopping, eating, watching movies, or just hanging out at home and reminiscing wonderful memories in the past.
  1. Pamper yourself. Take time out to give yourself some royal treatment. Eat dinner that is special than usual, go to a spa for some therapeutic massage, get a chiropractic treatment to remove all pressure from the body, or prepare some popcorn while you watch a DVD at home. Pampering yourself need not be expensive; the point is being able to feel snug and happy amidst being busy.

Remember, the more important things in life happen when you are busy. Don’t get too occupied that you miss witnessing these. Breathe, relax, and rejuvenate once in a while.

The Right Ways to Manage Asthma Attacks


Asthma is a common chronic condition where the respiratory system of a person is involved. When a person has asthma, his airways constrict, become inflamed, and secrete an excessive amount of mucus on the lining, thus making it difficult for him to breathe in and out.

Asthma episodes are often triggered by exposure to environmental stimulants including smoke, allergens, cold or warm air, moist air, perfume, pet fur, exercise, and even physical and emotional stress. Rare cases of asthma, on the other hand, involve spine problems and nerve damage.

Asthma Management

While asthma is a common condition in many people all around the world, the fact remains the same that it is a disorder that needs to be treated properly and prevented at all times. To cure and prevent asthma from occurring regularly, one must be familiar and knowledgeable about proper asthma management. Asthma management includes factors such as a clean environment, well-balanced diet, regular exercise, disciplined lifestyle, healthy home front, and prevention and maintenance drugs.

If you or a family member is suffering from asthma attacks, be sure to observe proper asthma management. Here are some of the dos and don’ts you can enforce in your household to minimize asthma attacks:

Remove Allergens

First, keep the dusts and dirt away. Stuffed toys, carpets, and draperies collect dust so avoid using them. Use blinds instead of curtains for the windows; they are easier to clean and do not collect too much dust. Give the stuffed toys away. Replace all pillow cases with hypo-allergenic ones. If possible, cover your mattresses with leatherette covers. For clothes, cotton is the best material. Regularly clean electric fans and have the air-conditioning unit checked every six months.

Watch Out for Food Triggers

Watch what you eat. It is smart to list down foods that induce asthma attack and post it somewhere visible to remind you every time. Plan your meals well and use only the freshest ingredients. Limit the intake of chicken, seafood, and even hairy and citrus fruits as they trigger asthma attacks. Moreover, stay away from processed foods, such as cold cuts and canned goods because they contain lots of monosodium glutamate and other preservatives that are also unadvised for those suffering from asthma.

Get Rid of Smoke

Switch on the exhaust fans at home when cooking to prevent the smoke from entering the other areas of the house. Keep pesticides, even the water-based ones, from children. Seal them tightly and place them where children cannot easily reach them.

Stay Away from Air Pollutants

Air pollution can trigger asthma attacks so stay away from them. Have your car checked regularly to prevent causing air pollution. If a family member must smoke, he or she should do it outside or in areas where the smoke will not reach the patient.

The good news about asthma is that you can outgrow it. By following the above preventive measures and changing your lifestyle, it is not impossible to get rid of that irritating condition. Couple these with therapy or chiropractic care and you are sure to be on your way to fast recovery.

Asthma and Chiropractic Care: Case Studies


Asthma is one of the most common disorders in the US and all over the world. In 2010, statistics shows that almost 8% of Americans have asthma and has been continuously increasing year after year. While there are readily available medications used to treat asthma, their safety and effectiveness are being scrutinized. Thus, people stated to look for alternative treatments for asthma, and chiropractic care has been found to be quite useful for treatment and cure of asthma.

Chiropractic Treatment for Asthma

The role of chiropractic treatment in treating asthma cases, or at least reducing its symptoms, has always been a subject of debate in many medical institutions. While there is no proven research yet that verifies this assumption, there have been many cases where it chiropractic care has indeed cured a patient of his asthma problem.

According to a chiropractor himself, not all cases of asthma respond well to spinal adjustment. However, those cases that involve some area in the spine, such as chronic bronchial disorder, can be treated with occasional spinal adjustments and may gradually yield positive results. Chronic bronchial asthma involves frontal dishing of the spine located in the midscapular region. Normally, adjustments are made in the thoracic region of the spine, particularly the pelvis, lumbar spine, and upper cevicals.

Case Study # 1: 5-Year-Old Boy with Bronchial Asthma

At 5, Johnny has been diagnosed with bronchial asthma with symptoms stated three years ago. Everyday, his conditions gets worse and worse that he had to increase dosage consumption of his medications.  When his condition was still not improving even after dosage increase, his parents decided to look for alternative solutions and considered chiropractic care.

The chiropractor warned that not all asthma patients respond to chiropractic care, unless the case has something to do with spinal disorder. After diagnosis, they found out that Johnny has indeed some problems in his spine and can, therefore, be treated with chiropractic care.

Fortunately, Johnny responded to the treatment well, although the improvement was a little gradual. By the 4th week, the intensity of his asthma attacks decreased. By the 6th week, the frequency of attacks lessened, too. By the 8th week, as per his physician’s advice, Johnny’s consumption of his steroid medications was reduced. His chiropractic sessions continued on a weekly basis, and eventually his asthma did not bother him as much as it used to.

Case Study #2: 12-Year-Old Boy with Persistent Asthma

A 12-year-old boy suffering from persistent asthma was taken for chiropractic care for several months. Using a paraspinal thermography, along with the recordings of a medical respiratory specialist, the neurophysiological response of the patient to chiropractic care was monitored.  After the entire duration of the treatment, the patient’s original consumption of medication – totaling to 24 times every day – decreased to no medication use at all. The paraspinal thermography used by the chiropractor proves how chiropractic care improved the condition of asthma patients.

Just because asthma is common among many individuals doesn’t mean you have to take for granted its cure. While oral medications are inhalers can temporarily relieve the symptoms of asthma attacks, it is better to go for the permanent solution of the problem. Why not try getting a chiropractic care? It wouldn’t hurt to try.

Asthma and EIB: What You Need to Know


Beware! If you have asthma and you exercise excessively, it could turn to EIB.

Exercise-induced bronchospasm or EIB is a chronic breathing disorder that can be distinguished by frequent attacks of wheezing and unusual shortness of breath. Affecting both children and adults who regularly exercise, asthma turns to EIB when you are already suffering from the following signs and symptoms:

  • Shortness of breath
  • Tightness of chest
  • Wheezing when you exhale
  • Coughing, especially at night, and sometimes with little sputum
  • Rapid and shallow breathing
  • Tightening of the neck muscles when breathing

The best way to prevent asthma from turning to EIB is to slow down or minimize extensive exercise. As they say, do everything in moderation. If you are aware that you are an asthma patient, which you probably are, then go easy on exercising.

Below are some more ways to treat and prevent asthma from worsening and developing into EIB.

  1. Because allergens are the primary causes of asthma, it is best to get rid of all allergens and irritants surrounding you. Whether they are present at home and at work, it is best to stay away from them.
  1. Carry regular medications with you at all times. Additionally, ask your doctor if you can keep emergency drugs with you just in case a serious attack happens.
  1. Maintain correct posture and practice deep breathing each morning to loosen collected lung secretions. During attacks, it is best to sit upright.
  1. Take in medications as prescribed by your doctor. These might include expectorants, bronchodilators, corticosteroid drugs, cromolyn sodium, and other preventive drugs.
  1. Stay active, but avoid extensive and sudden bursts of exercise. If you experience an attack after a heavy exercise, just keep calm, sit upright, and drink warm water.
  1. If your symptoms can be controlled, continue engaging in exercises and other physical activities. Otherwise, reduce exercise levels temporarily until symptoms improve.
  1. Avoid eating foods that you are allergic to. Moreover, drink at least three quarts of liquid every day to keep lung secretions loose and thin.
  1. To further remove pressure from the central nervous system and help soothe your breathing, you may want to get a chiropractic treatment that will normalize the function of your body. Many cases of asthma have improved when patients sought spinal adjustment from chiropractors.

Your symptoms to EIB can be controlled with proper treatment and strict adherence to preventive measures. Without treatment, however, severe attacks can be fatal. Possible complications include chest enlargement from repeated asthma attacks over a long period of time, pneumothorax or collapsed lung, repeated lung infections, COPD from recurrent attacks, and respiratory failure.