46-year-old female had been suffering from left hand pain and numbness for over 2 years when she sought chiropractic care as a method of treatment. She had been diagnosed by her family doctor with carpal tunnel syndrome and it was recommended that she undergo surgical intervention. As a single mother of 2 young children, she could not imagine being able to care for them during the recovery period of this potential surgery. She was also worried about the financial implications of missing time from work to recover. Surgery just did not seem like a good option for her and she was unsure where to go from there. After trying a number of conservative therapies with no result, a friend of her suggested trying a chiropractor, and reluctantly she agreed.
The physical examination showed obvious signs of carpal tunnel syndrome, but there were some inconsistencies as well. A chiropractor is trained to not only assess the source of pain, but to also assess the entire kinetic to chain to determine if there are any other contributing factors. In this case, it was determined that this woman was suffering from what was called “double crush syndrome”. This is a condition where there is compression of a peripheral nerve (in this case the median nerve), in two locations synergistically. The combination of both sites of compression leads to the intense severity of the symptoms and the lack of response to conventional treatment methods. In this case, there was compression of the nerve roots at C6 and C7 on the left, as well as some compression of the median nerve at the carpal tunnel.
Through chiropractic adjustments of the affected joint segments (C6 and C7), as well as soft tissue therapy to the neck and left arm, she was able to make a full recovery. She was seen for a total of 12 visits and was able to avoid surgery and live pain free. Seeing as she is continuing with her office job and busy schedule with 2 children, we have found a treatment frequency which works with her in order to maintain her progress and deal with any returning symptoms. Through daily stretches, ergonomic changes to her desk at work, and regular chiropractic visits, she has been able to avoid surgery and remain pain-free.