New Effective Sciatica Treatment in Cedar Rapids!

Sciatica is often used as a catch-all term by patients to refer to any pain they feel in their legs.  Millions of dollars are spent each year, with limited effectiveness.  This is understandable when we begin to take into consideration all the possible causes of symptoms and break down the traditional methods of diagnosis and treatment of this condition.

 

Radiating leg pain accounts for around 5-10% of all low back pain cases.  Disc related sciatica symptoms account for only 2.2% of cases.  Tight or overactive muscles are usually to blame in cases diagnosed with piriformis syndrome, and THIS is where the lack of effectiveness in the treatment of radiating leg pain essentially begins!  Whether conservative, or surgical, there is a LACK of diagnosing underlying conditions creating “tight” or overactive muscles!

 

Fortunately, new research being brought to light by researchers and doctors are shining a light on a new paradigm shift in the diagnosis and treatment of radiating pain down the leg.  Deep Gluteal Syndrome, or DGS, has the same pain characteristics as sciatica and piriformis syndrome, but the true cause of the problem has finally been found!  

 

For years, surgeons have noted and treated “fibrous scar bands” during procedures.  Sciatic nerve decompression is a surgery where fibrous scar bands, also known as adhesion, are removed around the sciatic nerve to alleviate pain.  

 

The problem is that surgery is no more beneficial than quality conservative care after 1 year!  Even with surgery, a small but significant group of patients fail to improve all together!  Collagen, the material that makes up adhesion, breaks down with as little as 6 pounds of tension.  The keyword is tension, and its specific application.  Compressive forces take much more pressure.  The good news is that Integrative Diagnosis providers have been effectively treating this problem, without surgery, for over a decade!

 

Adhesion, as it is frequently referred as, is a build up of collagen or fibrotic tissue that acts like glue on muscles and around nerves.  As adhesion builds, it limits flexibility of joints causing weakness and pain.  If adhesion builds up around nerves, like the sciatic nerve, it can create symptoms of tingling, burning, or numbness.  Sound familiar?

 

The good news is this problem is extremely common, one of the most common problems in the body, that also happens to be one of the most reversible conditions in the human body as well!  Adhesion develops most commonly through overuse, think repetitive motions like running, or prolonged positions like sitting on your butt all day.

 

Adhesion builds up most commonly around the sciatic nerve in the buttock. Limited movement accompanies this development often with increasing symptoms.  Normally, with hip flexion the sciatic nerve can stretch over 1 inch in the hip!  As adhesion develops, hip flexion becomes more limited, and more stress is placed not only in the hip, but the low back and knees as well!  This is a big deal for your overall health!

 

The concept of adhesion, or fibrous scar bands, playing a role in symptoms related to sciatic nerve mobility and entrapment represents a radical change and paradigm shift in the current diagnosis of and therapeutic approach to DGS.  Effective treatment aims to break down adhesion using tension.  No other method of treatment is as effective in treating this condition!  In fact, other methods of treatment, like stretching or exercise, could make the condition worse!

 

Manual Adhesion Release, MAR, is a technique used by certified Integrative Diagnosis providers.  This treatment creates enough tension on adhesion to effectively break it down over a series of visits. It is currently the only treatment that focuses on the diagnosis and breakdown of adhesion.  ID providers use specific tests to establish the diagnosis and measure progress from visit to visit.  

 

Previously, Deep Gluteal Syndrome was a complex issue difficult to overcome with traditional therapies and surgery.  With this new research, paradigm shift, and advances in effective treatment coming to fruition, finally patients can get the treatment needed for their desired outcome.

If you, or someone you know has been struggling to find relief from radiating pain going down the leg, the experts at Thrive Spine and Sport can help!  Currently, they are the 2 most experienced Integrative Diagnosis providers in the state of Iowa.  Call us today at 319-423-0925, or click here to schedule an appointment!

Concussions

Over the last few years, around this time of year, concussions have become a major topic of interest.  More and more research is coming to light about just how dangerous concussions really are.  While much of the focus has been done to better diagnose and prevent concussions (which needs to happen), very little has been done in the advancement of treatment.

Rest remains the most appropriate way to allow your brain to recover from a concussion, but what happens when symptoms remain even after weeks and months of rest?

Concussions are a brain injury.  Currently, there are 8 factors used to diagnose concussions.  In order to be diagnosed with a concussion, you only need to experience 3 out of the 8 factors.  Headaches, dizziness, changes in mood, sleep, concentration, personality, irritability, not managing stress, are all on the list.  Surprisingly, neck pain didn’t make the list!

As mentioned previously, concussions are a brain injury, but you can’t get a brain injury without neck (cervical) trauma.  Alarmingly, the spine is rarely evaluated!  What should, and needs to happen, is to find out how much influence the cervical trauma is playing in post-concussive symptoms.  While neck symptoms don’t need to be present, presence of neck pain and symptoms will delay recovery from concussion injuries.

The suboccipital muscles are a group of 6 muscles that attach to the top of the skull and neck.  Some of these muscles attach directly to the spinal cord. These are the most commonly injured structures with any neck and head trauma. Injury to these muscles can directly cause and increase concussion symptoms.  As a result of trauma to the head and neck, adhesion is most likely to appear in these muscles.

As a consequence, adhesion decreases flexibility and pain.  Adhesion in the suboccipital muscles can cause a variety of symptoms including, headaches and neck pain. It can be easily fixed by an expert trained to diagnose and treat this injury.  The only way to know if you have adhesion present is to be evaluated by one of these experts.

Concussions are always individual and each person recovers at a different pace.  If you have recently had, or been struggling with post-concussive symptoms it is vital to know how much of your injury is due to the brain, and how much is due to the cervical trauma!

While most of the recovery and treatment of concussions need to be focused around rest and managing activities, those that still suffer with symptoms weeks and months after need other solutions!  Otherwise, these symptoms can persist years down the road.  Concussions are always multifactorial, changes in diet and psychiatry may also help, but negating to treat the musculoskeletal component of the injury can be a huge mistake!

You owe it to yourself to explore all avenues of treatment to fully recover from injury and prevent long term damage!

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Integrative Diagnosis providers are musculoskeletal experts trained in the evaluation and treatment of neck pain and injury.  If you are fortunate enough to have an Integrative Diagnosis provider in your area, they can help with the recovery and treatment of concussions.  Use this link to find a provider near you => PROVIDERS

If you live in or around the Cedar Rapids area, let the experts at Thrive Spine and Sport help!  If you or someone you know are struggling to recover from a concussion we encourage you to call our office today at 319-423-0925 or schedule an appointment at www.thrivespineandsport.com/appointment-request/.

Thanks for reading!

4 Easy Steps To Fix Tennis Elbow!

Lateral elbow pain is more popularly termed “tennis elbow.” Tennis Elbow affects 2% of the general population, and while that sounds like a relatively low number, it will affect upwards of 50% of tennis players at some point during their playing career! Hence the name.

The commonality among tennis players is no mistake. The sport places a tremendous load on the lateral elbow. While it’s incredibly common, resolution of the problem is often frustrating for both patient and provider. The problem with fixing tennis elbow is that the condition is commonly misdiagnosed. Incorrect diagnosis leads to incorrect treatment, and as you may already know, prolonged and worsening symptoms.

Fortunately, fixing this issue can be found with 4 easy steps!

STEP 1: GET THE RIGHT DIAGNOSIS! Tennis elbow is generally categorized as a tendinitis. Classic tendinitis is an inflammatory condition. The problem is that most lateral elbow pain is NOT inflammatory! It’s degenerative! It is actually a term called tendinosis. Treating lateral elbow pain as tendinitis will make tendinosis worse!

Classic treatment of tendinitis, using rest, ice, and NSAIDS or cortisone actually leads to more degeneration and is putting you at risk for more significant injury, like ruptured tendons! It bears repeating, but cortisone and NSAIDS are a REALLY bad idea in this situation!  In fact one more recent study showed that those using cortisone for treatment of musculoskeletal conditions were WORSE than those who did absolutely nothing at all after 1 year.  Don’t believe me?  Take a look at the study here.

STEP 2: REST! I know I just told you rest is a bad idea. Prolonged rest is bad. Short term rest isn’t. It is often necessary during step 3.  Also avoid any painful movements during this time and use a brace as needed.  All this helps to unload the injured area.

STEP 3: TREAT ADHESION. Lateral elbow pain is often caused by overuse/repetitive trauma. The most common result of overuse in the body is adhesion. Adhesion acts like glue on muscles and tendons and doesn’t allow things to move like they should. It’s the most common cause of pain and limited range of motion in the body, yet it is also the most misdiagnosed and mistreated condition! Very few providers know what adhesion is. Even less know how to actually treat it. Making sure to find a provider that knows how to diagnose and treat this condition is vital to your recovery!  If you are lucky enough to have an Integrative Diagnosis provider in your area, they are the absolute best at treating this condition.  You can check your area by clicking the link here.

STEP 4: ECCENTRIC EXERCISE. Once adhesion is removed and the tissue is healthy enough for more activity. Eccentric exercise, a very specific type of exercise needs to be started. This type of exercise specifically targets the tendon for repair.

 

If you have been struggling to find relief from lateral elbow and been diagnosed with tendinitis, most likely the diagnosis was wrong! You need a second opinion! You need the help of a soft tissue expert!  Find help, follow these steps, get relief now!

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The providers at Thrive Spine and Sport in Cedar Rapids are certified through Integrative Diagnosis. Integrative Diagnosis is the most advanced diagnosis and treatment system for the diagnosis and treatment of soft tissue injury. If you have tried other providers without finding relief, we invite you to call our office today at 319-423-0925 or request an appointment by clicking here => www.thrivespineandsport.com/appointment-request.

Know someone struggling with this issue? Make sure to share it with your friends! Thanks for reading!

Low Back Health Exam

Over 80% of the population will be affected by low back pain at some point in their life.  25% have suffered low back pain in the last 3 months alone!  Low back pain is one of the leading causes of disability and lost production in this country.  Solutions to the problem aren’t often easy and far too many people are left looking for answers for why their back always hurts.  Low back pain is a REALLY BIG DEAL!  Keeping your low back HEALTHY should be a PRIORITY!

If you struggle with low back pain, wouldn’t it be nice to know WHY your back always hurts?  Or maybe, if you’re one of the lucky ones not currently in pain, wouldn’t it be nice to know your low back pain risk and what you need to do to prevent it?

Now you can by taking the test and trying these 5 tests at home!  Why these 5 tests?  These 5 tests are the most basic, functional movements of the low back.  Every healthy person should be able to perform these tests!

So here’s how it goes.  Perform each test below – some may need the help of a partner.  Rate yourself by the grading chart for each test.  Add the scores together at the end to get your score.  Follow the directions to fix your low back!

Let’s get started!

TEST #1:  Straight Leg Raiser

You will need a partner for this.  Download a “bubble level” app on your phone.  Make sure the app measures angle as well.  There are a ton of free ones out there that work well for this.  I recommend “Clinometer” for Android and “iHandy Level Free” for iPhones.

Lie on your back with feet extended out in front.  Place the phone with the bubble app open in the middle of the shin.  One leg at a time, have your partner lift the leg with the knee straight.  Move the leg until it can no longer stretch or the hip or opposing leg starts to lift off the ground.  Record the degree.

20160706_182837

85-90 Degrees = 2 Points          75-84 Degrees = 1 Point          Less Than 74 degrees = 0 Points

 

TEST #2:  Knee-To-Chest

While still laying on your back, one leg at a time, pull your knee to your chest.  The front of the leg should touch the bottom of your rib cage without any pinch in the anterior hip.  If you cannot get the front of your leg to touch your chest, measure how far away by placing fingers between your chest and leg.  Record the distance.

20160706_183142_001

3 Finger Restricted Knee-To-Chest
3 Finger Restricted Knee-To-Chest

Leg Flat On Chest W/ No Anterior Hip Pinch = 0 Points        Leg 1-3 Fingers From Chest = 1 Point          Leg  More Than 4 Fingers From Chest = 0 Points

TEST #3: “Cat Stretch”

You will need a partner and a pencil.

With hands and knees on the floor arch your low back as much as possible by trying to bring your hips to your chest.  Have your partner place a pencil on your lower back.  What does it look like?

Healthy "Cat Stretch" Test
Healthy “Cat Stretch” Test

                                            Pencil Ends Off Back = 2 Points                                              

Flat Pencil Test
Flat Pencil Test

Pencil Flat = 1 Point

Severely Restricted "Cat Stretch" Test
Severely Restricted “Cat Stretch” Test

Pencil Ends Touching, Middle Not = 0 Points

 

TEST #4: Lunge

Standing up, take a large step forward and drop the back knee to the ground.  Keep your body upright.  Place a ruler under your back leg.  Measure how far the front of the hip extends out from the ruler.

Lunge Test
Lunge Test
Overhead View of Healthy Lunge Test Of The Ruler
Overhead View of Healthy Lunge Test Of The Ruler

More Than 12” = 2 Points          9-11.5” = 1 Point          Less Than 9” = 0 Points   

 

TEST #5: Toe Touch

Standing upright bend forward and try to touch the floor in front of your toes.  Use a ruler to measure how far away the tip of your finger is away from the floor.

Healthy Toe Touch Test
Healthy Toe Touch Test

Finger Touching Floor or Palming Floor = 2 Points

Fingers Less Than 2” From Floor = 1 Point

Limited Toe Touch Test
Limited Toe Touch Test

Fingers More Than 2” From The Floor = 0 Points

 

Now that you have gone through all of the tests, add the score of each test together.  What did you get?

9-10 Points = 90-100% Low Back Function = Congratulations!  You have a VERY healthy back!

7-8 Points = 70-80% Low Back Function = Chances are you may not have low back pain now, but you should try to improve the tests that are lagging with some simple daily mobility, stretching, and exercise.  In pain currently?  See below.

Less Than 6 Points = Less Than 60% Low Back Function = Your back is in trouble!  Most of these tests are limited or restricted.  You have less than 60% function of your low back!  That’s a failing grade in school!  Just like in school when you failed a test and you looked for some help to get better grades, you should seek the help of a local musculoskeletal expert for solutions to fix these movements and solve your low back pain!

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It is important to note these 5 tests above are assessments used in the Integrative Diagnosis system.  The most common cause of limited range of motion and pain for these tests are due to muscle adhesion.  Integrative Diagnosis is the most advanced diagnosis and treatment system for solving musculoskeletal problems.

At Thrive Spine and Sport, we are currently the only full body Integrative Diagnosis providers in the State of Iowa. Our treatment fixes adhesion!  If you have been looking for answers to your low back pain, click the appointment request here, or call us at 319-423-0925.

Tingling, Burning, Numbness? Here’s What You Need To Know!

If you are currently suffering from symptoms of tingling, burning, or numbness, there are some things you need to know.  “Pinched nerve” is a term thrown out all too often and over diagnosed.  Nerve entrapment is a term that is used far less, but much, MUCH more common.

A true “pinched nerve,” is when a nerve is compressed between 2 structures.  Most often, this happens in cases of disc derangement where the disc protrudes into the spinal cord compressing the nerve roots.

An example of a protruding disc creating a “true” pinched nerve.

This happens in less than 3% of patients.  When the nerve is compressed by a protruding disc, the pain is usually constant and severe – think pain levels above 8 out of 10. This problem persists for weeks without relief.

Nerve entrapment, as previously mentioned, is a less popular diagnosis but far more common. Nerve entrapment is a condition in which nerves get stuck to surrounding structures.  As nerves pass through our body, they floss and move between muscles, tendons, and other soft tissue.  Healthy nerves slide and glide between these structures without issue.

Through “wear and tear” and “use and abuse,” nerves can become entrapped and glued to the structures it moves along.  When this happens, this can lead to symptoms of tingling, burning, and numbness many people struggle with.  In cases of nerve entrapment, most people will note also feeling “tight” or the feeling of dull, achy pain.  Pain is often not constant.  Sometimes the dull, achy pain can be in other areas of the body as well.  In these cases, adhesion is most frequently the “glue” that binds the nerve to the surrounding soft tissue.

While you may not have heard of nerve entrapment, you are probably familiar with carpal tunnel syndrome, sciatica, piriformis syndrome, tarsal tunnel syndrome, or thoracic outlet syndrome.  These are examples of nerve entrapment conditions.

These conditions are unfortunately labeled as such, without a complete diagnosis of what is causing the symptoms in the first place. Rest, ice, ultrasound, stim, kinisiotape, bracing among other treatments are often prescribed and used without finding much long term relief.  Far too often these conditions will lead to cortisone injections and surgery.

Adhesion, which is the most common cause of nerve entrapment and is also the most frequently missed when dealing with these conditions.  Adhesion can be fixed with specific manual therapy at the site of the entrapment.

At Thrive Spine and Sport, we are certified in the diagnosis and treatment of adhesion which can cause nerve entrapment in 156 different areas of the body!  If you are starting to experience, or have been struggling with the above listed syndromes without relief, it’s time to get to the bottom of your pain. You deserve real solutions to your problem.  Fill out the appointment request on this page or call our office at 319-423-0925 today!

Thanks for reading!

3 Reasons For Tight Hamstrings You Dont Know About

If your hamstrings are always “tight” there is a reason behind it – and it’s not because you’re not stretching.  In fact, if you are stretching, it may be making it worse!  While this may sound like crazy talk, allow me to explain.

The hamstrings are a group of 3 different muscles.  They originate on the pelvis and insert on the lower leg, just below the knee.  They are primarily responsible for extension of the hip and flexing the knee.  The hamstrings play a vital role in most of our daily activities, which include standing, walking, running, and jumping, but they also play a protective role for nerves and joints.

The Hamstrings

While there can be many different reasons for “tight” hamstrings, the 3 most common I see in my office are the following:

Nerve Entrapment.  The sciatic nerve runs from the lower back down into the foot.  This nerve moves and flosses through many different structures on its route.  Often times this nerve will get glued down, and stick to some of the muscles it comes into contact with in the hip and upper thigh – this includes the hamstrings.  When this nerve is prevented from moving properly, and we try to stretch, the body will engage the hamstrings sooner than it would if the nerve wasn’t glued down to protect the nerve from potential harm. This is give off the feeling of “weak and tight.”

Hip Joint Dysfunction.  Place your hand on the outside of your hip. Do you feel the bone there? Now, more than ever with our modern day lifestyles, this joint can become compromised by adhesion and scar tissue.  The femur is held into the hip socket by a group of ligaments.  These ligaments will often form loads of scar tissue after performing repetitive activities or keeping it in place for prolonged periods of time.  This scar tissue will then restrict hip motion.  With this reduction in movement, the joint is more prone to future injury, the hamstrings help to protect this joint by activating earlier than normal and reduces the range of motion.

Hip Capsule

Disc Injury.  Unfortunately, far too many people are walking around with disc injuries, whether they know it or not.  When a disc becomes injured, many simple day to day tasks become more difficult, like trying to stand from a seated position, or bend forward.  Any flexion movement, places more stress on the injured disc.  Part of the job of the hamstrings is to extend the hip and keep you upright.   If we have an injured disc, the hamstrings will try to keep you upright to protect the disc and avoid any unwanted load.

A Few Common Disc Issues

So what can you do?

Often the answer to your problem is simpler than you think.  “Tight” hamstrings are a common problem, but can lead to bigger, chronic issues. Catch all solutions like stretching are rarely ever the answer.  Start by contacting a local expert to get the correct diagnosis for your problem.   Only with the right diagnosis can you finally fix your problem!

If you live in Cedar Rapids or surrounding areas and are constantly struggling with “tight” hamstrings, we invite you to check out our office.  The experts at Thrive Spine and Sport can easily diagnose and provide you with the right plan to fix your problem!  Call our office at 319-423-0925 or fill out an appointment request by clicking here

Thanks for reading!

Is It Tendinitis?

Tendinitis and tendinosis. One you’ve probably heard before.  The other, probably not. While they both sound the same, in reality they are worlds apart.

Tendinitis is, by definition, inflammation of a tendon.  Tendinosis on the other hand is defined as chronic tendinitis and implies chronic tendon degeneration without the presence of inflammation. Basically, one is short-term with inflammation, the other long-term, without inflammation, though both are caused typically by overuse.

soccerTendinitis, the most popular diagnosis of the two, usually presents with swelling and tenderness at the sight of pain, often accompanied by stiffness, and less often by weakness. Tendinosis presents most often with stiffness, tenderness to the touch, and weakness–almost identical to tendinitis. Recovery of tendinitis lasts anywhere from days to six weeks, a relatively “quick fix.” Tendinosis recovery can last a few short weeks to a couple months or more depending on the level of degeneration. If left untreated, tendinosis often leads to “tear” injuries.

While both conditions are classically treated with conservative measures, the difference in care is absolutely critical to resolution of the problem. Conservative management stems around rest and anti-inflammatory medication for tendinitis, while conservative management of tendinosis aims to restore tendon regrowth and strength through manual therapy and eccentric exercise.

Both, occur most often in the Achilles tendon (ankle), patellar tendon (knee), proximal hamstring (high hamstring), common extensor tendon (elbow), and the supraspinatus tendon (shoulder).

With both of these problems being so relatively close, while treatment is vastly different, proper diagnosis is vital to the recovery process! So which one do you have? Let’s go to the research.

While tendinitis is the wildly over-popular diagnosis among general practitioners, it may not be the case. Most research coming out on this topic is now showing that at a cellular level, once believed tendinitis actually is, in fact, tendinosis.

According to Almekinders and Temple, “Most currently practicing general practitioners were taught, and many still believe, that patients who present with overuse tendinitis have a largely inflammatory condition and will benefit from anti-inflammatory medication. Unfortunately this dogma is deeply entrenched. Ten of 11 readily available sports medicine texts specifically recommend non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs despite the lack of clinical evidence.”

In light of this, chances are that if you have been diagnosed with tendinitis the diagnosis was incorrect. Furthermore, traditional, conservative treatment, of such, with the use of anti-inflammatories, corticosteroid injections, and/or pain medication may have left you worse off long term even though pain may have dissipated short term (but this conversation is for a different time). These methods were designed to eliminate inflammation, not regrow tendon. As mentioned above, treatment of tendinosis should be aimed at restoring tendon function and strength through manual therapy and eccentric exercise. Drugs will not help! Treatment should also include load management when deemed necessary.

With all this said, while we cannot assume a diagnosis was incorrect, lingering, worsening, or reoccurrence of pain would suggest that it may in fact be tendinosis. It is recommended that treatment plans geared toward tendinitis, in these cases, be reevaluated.

Tendinitis is one of the most commonly diagnosed injuries and all too many struggle to find relief. With the proper diagnosis and treatment plan, it doesn’t have to be that way!

At Thrive Spine and Sport, we specialize in the diagnosis and treatment of musculoskeletal injuries, including tendinitis and tendinosis.  Most patients have seen many different providers before finding relief in our office.  Fill out the appointment request on this page or call our office at 319-423-0925 to set up an appointment today!

Thanks for reading!

Struggling With Carpal Tunnel Syndrome?

Carpal tunnel syndrome, or CTS, is something you are probably familiar with.  Affecting approximately 3-6% of the general population, CTS is usually linked to highly repetitive tasks like heavy manual labor, or typing and desk work.  Characterized by numbness, tingling, or burning sensations in the thumb and fingers, carpal tunnel syndrome is the most common nerve entrapment found in the body.

While there is a lot that we do know about CTS, unfortunately it hasn’t made fixing it any easier.  Successful conservative treatment of carpal tunnel syndrome have been estimated between 3 and 70%!  That is quite a wide range of success to say the least!  The problem in successful treatment may lie in the diagnosis.

Most commonly, CTS is characterized as entrapment of the median nerve in the carpal tunnel of the wrist.  Often times this is not the case.

The median nerve forms in the axilla (armpit) by joining nerves that originate in the neck.  After forming, the median nerve continues its path through the upper arm, into the elbow, through the forearm, and finally through the carpal tunnel and into the hand.  Along this path, the nerve passes through multiple structures before arriving at the carpal tunnel in the wrist.

Median Nerve Pathway
Median Nerve Pathway

When healthy, the nerve glides along other muscles, tendons, and other soft tissue structures without problem.  With overuse and some other conditions, the nerve can become glued and entrapped by adhesion to these structures.  When nerves become entrapped, they cause tingling, burning, and numbness symptoms.  This is where the problem lies in most cases of classic CTS!

Overuse Cycle

While the carpal tunnel, itself, gets most of the recognition for this problem, the median nerve can become entrapped anywhere along its path to the wrist and hand.  The difficulty with treatment is finding where this entrapment exists.

Therapies like drugs, injections, and splinting may offer short term relief, but do nothing to actually fix the entrapment.  The same holds true for stretching and exercise.  Surgery should always be used as a last resort.

In order for resolution of CTS, the nerve must be freed from the entrapment, if present, in the soft tissues of the neck and arm. Fortunately, there are some at home movements for carpal tunnel to see where the entrapment may exist:

Cervical Flexion.  To start, stand with your back flat against the wall including the head.  Start by tucking the chin to the neck without moving the head off the wall.  Note any symptoms into the neck, shoulders, or arms.  Next move further into flexion by tucking the chin to the sternum.  Inability to tuck the chin to the chest, or symptoms into the shoulder or arm can be a sign of entrapment in the neck.

Healthy cervical flexion.
Healthy cervical flexion.

Shoulder Abduction.  Stand upright with the arms along the side.  Slowly bring the arms up to the ears by moving the arms in a motion similar to a “jumping jack.”  The upper arm should touch the ear.  Anything short of this motion or pain or numbness into the hands may be a sign of entrapment.

Shoulder Abduction
Shoulder Abduction with right side more restricted than left. (Note upper arm proximity to ears)

Wrist/Finger Extension.  Place the forearm flat along the wall with the elbow 90 degrees to the shoulder.   Pull back on the wrist until it is 90 degrees to the forearm.  Now, pull back on the fingers.  They should be roughly 65 degrees to the wrist.  Note symptoms. Any motion short of the noted ranges is positive, along with pain, tingling, or burning sensations can be a sign of entrapment in the forearm or wrist.

Wrist Extension
Healthy Wrist/Finger Extension

As mentioned earlier, most conservative treatment fails to diagnose properly, and thus, fails to provide proper treatment to fix carpal tunnel syndrome.  Manual therapy has been shown to be effective for treatment of nerve entrapment.  Carpal tunnel syndrome is progressive in nature, and ultimately leads to surgery in far too many cases where it could have been prevented.  For those suffering with CTS symptoms it is highly recommended to seek proper treatment as soon as possible.

At Thrive Spine and Sport, we focus on finding and fixing nerve entrapment!  If you have been struggling to find relief from carpal tunnel syndrome, call our office today to set up an appointment at 319-423-0925, or fill out the appointment request on this page.  If you have any questions, feel free to email myself at dr.cody@thrivespineandsport.com.