If you see a server at your favorite restaurant or a cashier at your local grocery store with a brace on their wrist and ask them what’s wrong, chances are their reply will include these three words: carpal tunnel syndrome.
For many patients with carpal tunnel symptoms like wrist pain, wearing a brace can be a lifesaver that helps them get back to work so they can provide for their family. But for many others, wearing a wrist brace all day long may not solve the problem and can even make it worse. That’s because simply limiting motion, while good in theory, could weaken the muscles in the wrist.
Also, the symptoms normally associated with carpal tunnel syndrome may only be partially due to a problem in the wrist, or not at all. If the wrist and hand pain actually results from a pinched nerve in the neck, shoulder, or elbow, then the wrist brace will do little to help.
The important thing for individuals with symptoms like numbness, tingling, and pain that extends to the index, middle, and thumb-side of the ring finger (for more info on symptoms associated with carpal tunnel syndrome go here) is to get the problem checked out by a doctor of chiropractic.
Is a small bone of the wrist out of its normal position? Is the mobility of the wrist asymmetrical and uneven? Is there a double-crush problem with a pinched nerve not just in the carpal tunnel but also where the nerves exit the neck area?
Usually a comprehensive approach is needed and your doctor of chiropractic may need to adjust the bones of your neck and wrist to help restore proper alignment. If the vertebrae are twisted in the neck, they can narrow the openings where the delicate nerves emerge and travel down the arm to the hand. Sometimes the posture of the neck is affected and there is a loss of the normal forward curve of the neck. This can cause a stretch to the spinal cord and nerve roots.
If possible, your chiropractor will try to limit the use of braces and instead focus on strengthening the muscles of the forearm, or use deep tissue massage and stretching to increase muscle flexibility.