Most people associate carpal tunnel syndrome as an injury to the wrists, hands and fingers from excessive typing or writing or other repetitive use of those areas. Yet if you asked anyone if they were diagnosed with carpal tunnel stemming from an auto accident, you might have a blank stare looking back at you. How is carpal tunnel syndrome associated to auto accidents?
Simple: people use their hands to brace themselves. When a person trips on the sidewalk, do they let themselves fall flat on their face or do they put their hands in front of them to help break the fall? They protect their faces and put their hands out to protect themselves. The same rings true in car accidents. Whether a front-end collision or a rear-end collision, people generally put their hands out in front of themselves to brace the impact that would otherwise hurt their torsos or faces.
According to The National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, the carpal tunnel or carpal canal is the fibro-osseous passageway on the palmar side of the wrist that connects the distal forearm to the middle compartment of the deep plane of the palm. When the hand is injured in the accident, the tendons that run through the carpal tunnel region of the wrist can become inflamed, which is often painful and, on occasion, disables the use of the hand(s) affected.
A chiropractor can help release the pain of carpal tunnel syndrome trough treatment that is specific to the wrist and hand area. They not only massage the inflamed area, but assign exercises the patient can perform on his/her own to help reduce the swelling in the carpal tunnel region. A chiropractor may also apply a splint (generally worn for four to six weeks) to keep a part of the body stable and not put any extra strain on a specific area on the body. They may first have the patient use the splint at night so as not to disrupt the use of the inflicted area during the day. Some chiropractors know how to adjust extremities and will adjust wrists as needed.
If a person feels numbness or tingling in their hands, arms and shoulders immediately after an auto accident, he should consult a primary care doctor or a chiropractor to help determine if he is in the beginning stages of carpal tunnel syndrome.