Carpal Tunnel Surgery: Types, Risks, and Better Alternatives
Have you ever wondered, ‘what is carpal tunnel surgery?’ or ‘should I get carpal tunnel surgery?’ There are hundreds of thousands of cases of carpal tunnel in the US every year. Carpal Tunnel is a common condition that causes numbness, tingling, and pain in the hand and forearm. This happens when one of the major nerves to the hand is squeezed or compressed while traveling through the wrist.
Types of Carpal Tunnel Surgery
There are two types of carpal tunnel release surgery. The goal of each is the same, which is to relieve compression on the nerve by cutting through the ligament that’s causing the compression. Both procedures will require local anesthesia and the patient returns home on the same day as the surgery.
- Open Release: The traditional method is the open release. During this procedure, the surgeon cuts a 2-inch incision on the wrist. They then use surgical instruments to cut the carpal ligament and enlarge the carpal tunnel.
- Endoscopic surgery: This surgery is considered less invasive, the doctor makes 2, half-inch incisions, one on the wrist, and one on the palm. They then insert a camera attached to a narrow tube into one incision. The camera then guides them as they insert the instruments and make cuts to the carpal ligament through the other incision.
Both of these surgeries involve cutting the transverse carpal ligament as a means of taking pressure off of the median nerve, removing the compression. As the ligament eventually heals, and the gap left behind will fill up with scar tissue.
Carpal Tunnel Surgery Risks
There are a handful of risks to be aware of before even considering carpal tunnel surgery as a viable option for treatment. The main risk is losing grip strength in the affected hand, which may improve over time. Other risks of carpal tunnel surgery include:
- Damage to the nerves
- Permanent Tenderness at the point of incision
- Stiffness in the affected hand and wrist
- Recurring carpal tunnel symptoms
- Loss of Range of Motion in wrist and with thumb
Around 75–90% of surgeries successfully treat carpal tunnel. Even after successful surgeries, there is sometimes a need for a second surgery, which can carry greater risk than the first.
Carpal Tunnel Surgery Alternatives
While carpal tunnel syndrome will worsen over time if ignored, surgery of any kind should always be a last resort. If you are considering carpal tunnel surgery, I highly recommend looking into alternative options first.
While there is little clinical evidence to support using this method in place of conventional treatments that will be effective, it has helped some individuals find relief from mild carpal tunnel symptoms. There are several things you can try:
- Avoid repetitive hand and wrist movements whenever possible
- Take frequent breaks from activities that involve repetitive hand movements and are unavoidable
- Keep the wrist in a neutral position without extending the wrist too far up or flexing it too far down
- Avoid power tools that vibrate, such as jackhammers and floor sanders
- Do not to sleep on the hands or with the wrists in bent positions
With mild symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome, a few simple exercises might help in finding relief.
- Yoga – Yoga stretching and strengthening exercises can help reduce pain and improve grip
- Hand therapy – The techniques used in physical hand therapy may relieve symptoms of carpal tunnel
Wrist Splinting or Bracing
Wearing a splint can keep you from twisting your wrist while you’re sleeping. Keeping your wrist in a straight position will take pressure off the nerve in the carpal tunnel. Also, wearing a splint during the day can help with activities that aggravate your symptoms.
Many health professionals have a common suggestion that one should wear braces at night and during any activity that primarily causes stress on the wrists.
Finding Treatment for Carpal Tunnel
If you’re suffering from carpal tunnel, or what you assume could be carpal tunnel, a chiropractor could help you. Ensuring the cervical spine is in proper working order, and eliminating any blockages that could be causing your symptoms to flare up is crucial in making sure the carpal tunnel is cured.
At Align Wellness Center, we have helped thousands of patients that have suffered with carpal tunnel syndrome and are looking for carpal tunnel surgery or other alternatives for treatment. Those patients are finally starting to see relief from their symptoms of carpal tunnel and are feeling better overall for it. Carpal tunnel can improve drastically through corrective chiropractic care.
If you or someone you know is having carpal tunnel symptoms and is considering carpal tunnel surgery, they need to be looked at by a corrective chiropractor and ensure the cervical spine is in alignment as well as other areas of the body. If you’re looking for a chiropractor that will take a natural and holistic approach to helping you with your issues with carpal tunnel, give us a call, even if you’re out of our area, we can look to connect you with a chiropractor near you.
We offer an in-depth exam to determine exactly what we can do to help with as much detail for you as possible. It is called the 3-Dimensional BioStructural Analysis, and the process involves the following:
- Timeline history
- Digital posture exam
- 3-Dimensional posture exam
- Chiropractic, Neurological, and Physical Exam
- Spinal radiographs (if needed)
- Digital biomechanical analysis of your spine
- Insurance verification (by our insurance team)
- Separate time to go over the results of your test within a day or two, where we will go over:
- What is going on
- If we can help
- What the best next step is for you
- Any investment in your health that is necessary
If you’re interested, you can schedule an appointment for a 3-Dimensional BioStructural Analysis here. If you’d like tips on how you can stay healthy and well without drugs and surgery, go ahead and check out other articles on this site. If you continue to struggle with carpal tunnel issues give us a call at Align Wellness Center (847) 860-6599 or schedule an appointment online. Contact us today or stop by the office. We’re located at 900 Skokie Blvd., Suite 113, Northbrook, IL, 60062.