The Road to Wellness

5 Apr 2016 Medical

They say the road to diet changes is just like the road to hell paved with good intentions. And well many of us may have experienced the truth in this statement.

We want to make a resolution to our bodies in the years to come not just in 2016 that we will take those good intentions and act on them. Your body and your mind are linked and so your health not only impacts how long you live, it also impacts the here and now on how well you will function. Function and performance may be something we think that only athletes care about, but what about how well your mind performs at a big business meeting or a stressful project? If you do not take care of yourself in a healthful way, you sabotage your potential for performing well as well as your emotional health. Emotional health can be very drastically affected by poor diet and more specifically poor blood sugar management has been linked to increases in depressed states. Here are our best tips for improving your health and putting into action a plan you will actually stick with.

Stay positive: meaning it is never to late to start a wellness routine in your life even if it is as simple as drinking more water.
Don’t try and change everything at once: just decide what you are going to do today, tomorrow and at the most this week. For example I am going to reduce my after dinner night cap of wine or beer by half.
Judgment and self loathing have no place in becoming healthy: Others have no right to make you feel bad about your current health state and neither do you, so be nice to yourself and no bad words in your mind either.
Make exercise convenient: choose activities you like doing and that you have the time to do. Most of us can not walk on the treadmill 4-5 hours a day like a super model so do not make that your goal.
Surround yourself with positive and motivated people: these people do not be a personal trainer. A friend that will take a walk with you or encourage you to make better healthy food choices will motivate you.
Journal what you eat, health goals achieved and exercise challenges: one person’s challenge may be a 5k; another a marathon and for some just stretching to prevent bad posture and journaling celebrates every one of these milestones.
Celebrate any and all victories whether it is you learning a healthy new recipe or just starting to get out in the sunlight more. Most goals fail because we are too hard on ourselves and want to see change overnight even though we know this is not logical.
When choosing exercise, consider more than cardio: weight training is healthy for our bones and our waistlines.
Choose plant based recipes to try: most people have mastered their protein category of foods but very few spend much time learning to make their vegetables as delicious. They tend to skimp on this part of the meal or skip it altogether which research tells us adds the real health benefits.

Immunity & Acupuncture

18 Feb 2016 Medical

Prevention, Acute Stage, & Recovery

It is important to note that Chinese Medicine is extremely effective as a preventative measure.  Regular acupuncture can help to balance the body thus decreasing frequency of illness.  Our recommendations listed below are useful for prevention, and can also help to kick a sickness out once it begins, shortening down time.  Once immunity is compromised, it is important to rebuild it. Simply adding certain foods and herbs into your regular diet can help you remain healthy and happy all year long.

What Chinese herbs help boost immunity?

Listed below are two examples of herbal formulas that may be prescribed by a Licensed Acupuncturist & Herbalist.  The formula chosen will reflect the patient’s presentation of symptoms.

Dong Chong Xia Cao (Cordyceps)

This formula boosts immunity by increasing number of white blood cells which act as our body’s first line of defense once pathogens enter the body.  Cordyceps aid our body in fighting various infections.

Yu Ping Feng San (Jade Windscreen Powder)

It is a classic formula that boost immunity when patients present symptoms such as chills and fever and spontaneous sweating. It is also a great formula for patients that are prone to catching colds.  It is also great for prevention and for rebuilding immunity after illness.

Individual herbs can be added to water for tea or to bone broth (see below) for an extra boost.

What foods can I eat to strengthen immunity during the cold/flu season?

• Foods rich in Vitamin A—Liver, beef, eggs, butter, and cheese
~Vitamin A strengthens immune response and mucus membranes.

• Foods rich in Vitamin C—Broccoli, citrus fruit, greens, and strawberries.
~Vitamin C fights inflammatory diseases and infections

• Garlic and onions—These foods have a natural antibiotic effect.
• Drink plenty of fluids and eat soup to prevent dehydration and flush the body.

Immunity Tea Recipe
1 Tsp of Goji berries
5 Da Zao (jujubes)
3 slices of ginger (peeled & bruised)

Bone broth
Bone broth has numerous health benefits, one of which is improving immunity.  It is jam-packed with nutrients which heal the body from the inside out.  On top of boosting immunity, it also benefits connective tissue, bones, and digestive system to name but a few.  Bone broth is an excellent tool for recovery from sickness, injury, and surgery as well.

Bone broth can be bought or made from scratch.  If you want to make your own, try this recipe:

For pre-made frozen kits, try:
We sell this in our clinic. Call in advance to make sure we have enough in stock for you.

Pre-made refrigerated:

Both of the bone broth companies mentioned above are owned and operated by Licensed Acupuncturists as this superfood is widely known for it’s healing qualities.

• Try to layer your clothing making sure hands, feet, and neck are covered.
• Take measures to boost immunity before traveling by plane or other public transportation.
• Drink room temperature or warm water with half a lemon squeezed in every morning to start your day with a dose of vitamin C and cleanse the body.
• When running the heat in your home and elsewhere, use saline spray to moisten the nasal passages and avoid dryness.

Iris Martin LAc.

How to Keep Your Immune System High

18 Feb 2016 Medical

Exercise – exercise increases circulation throughout the body. This means your white blood cells which are the integral part of your immune system, are able to scan the body more quickly and more frequently. This will allow them to find a pathogen early and rid of it before you get a chance to notice any symptoms.

Vitamin D – During the winter months when your exposure to the sun is reduced, it is important to supplement with Vitamin D. Our bodies need 1,000 IUs of Vitamin D per day. This vitamin not only plays a key role in your bone health but also controls an exorbitant amount of genes associated with cancers, autoimmune disease, and infections.

Keep sugar intake low. A spoonful of sugar may help the medicine go down but it will also give your body another disadvantage. Sugar impairs your immune system by suppressing the white blood cells’ ability to consume pathogens. As little as 3.5 ounces can depress your immune system by 50%. This effect of sugar on the immune system can last up to 5 hours.

Stress – Chronic stress has a negative impact on all aspects of the immune system. Finding the time to do something for you will actually make you better equipped to help others later and perform better at work. One of the best remedies for stress is laughter. Laughter not only decreases stress hormones but it boosts immune function. Seek comedy in all its forms.

Sleep – Sleep deprivation wreaks havoc on your immune system by reducing the number of killer cells which fight germs. Studies have also shown that lack of sleep promotes early aging. Fortunately, following some of the tips mentioned above will improve your sleep as well. If you are consistently having difficulty getting enough rest, seek help. Acupuncture would be one way to address your sleep needs.

Vitamin C – Nature’s wisdom put in season some of the fruits highest in Vitamin C, a highly effective antioxidant, right when we might need it most. Californians will see citrus trees full of their fruit as well as persimmons. Pomegranates are also in season now which are also known to be full of antioxidants. Eating fruits and veggies high in Vitamin C and antioxidants will help protect white blood cells from oxidative damage.

Zinc – Being deficient in zinc makes you more susceptible to infectious agents. However, too much zinc is not healthy either. Luckily you can test to see if you have an adequate amount of zinc easily and inexpensively.

During flu season, you can protect yourself from infection by taking the homeopathic preparation muco coccinum. One tablet should be taken every two weeks. This is a safe, natural, and gentle way to activate your body’s defense mechanisms.

Tendonitis: the injury that happens behind a computer or on the field

What is Tendonitis?

It is the inflammation of the soft tissue specifically the muscle that connects to the bone.

What are the most common types of tendonitis?

Tennis Elbow
Golfer’s Elbow
Achilles Tendinitis
De Quervain’s Tenosynovitis
Swimmer’s Shoulder
Patella Tendinitis
Tendinitis of the Wrist

Why does Tendonitis occur?

It occurs when extra strain is placed on a joint, bone and muscle either slowly and respectively over time or all at once in a more traumatic injury way. It usually occurs in people over age 40 due to the decrease of the tendon’s ability to tolerate stress.

What are the common causes of tendonitis?

Working on a computer for greater than 4 hours a day
Throwing or pitching
Incorrect Posture
Joint misalignment or abnormal joint length
Doing to much too soon on a tendon that isn’t used to a particular type of movement. (Weekend Warrior)
Occasionally due to infections
Inflammatory diseases like gout, rheumatoid arthritis and psoriatic arthritis

What are the symptoms of tendonitis?
Pain and loss of motion are the most common symptoms. Pain usually starts localized on the spot where the muscle attaches to the tendon and can radiate to other areas. The pain can either build up slowly or come on suddenly and severely.

How is tendonitis treated?

Rest the injured area
Ice the injured area
Seek chiropractic care – usually treated by adjusting the joint then performing the Graston Technique and cross fractioning the tendon.
Anti-inflammatory botanical medicine or over-the-counter anti-inflammatories (these can be topical or oral)
Corticosteroids injections are sometimes necessary
In very rare cases surgery is necessary

TMJ (temporomandibular joint) Pain and Dysfunction

25 Mar 2015 Medical

TMJ (temporomandibular joint) Pain and Dysfunction

85-90% of people will experience a TMJ-related symptom in their lifetime according to one study. Women tend to be affected more severely than men.

What is the TMJ?

The TMJ is the joint that allows you to open, close, and move your mouth from side to side. There is a small disc inside the joint for cushion that allows smooth movement. It involves a complex set of muscles which surround it, namely the temporalis, masseter, and pterygoids felt inside the mouth. Its proximity to the neck and ear make those two areas common sites for referred pain from the TMJ.

What are some complaints related to TMJ Dysfunction?

Ear Pain
Face pain on one side
TMJ pain with opening and closing the mouth
Joint sounds
Difficulty chewing
Ringing in the ear
Neck stiffness
Sinus congestion

What are some causes of TMJ Dysfunction?

Direct trauma to the joint
Significant dental issues

What are some signs of TMJ Dysfunction?

Local pain
Clicking or popping in the joint
Inability to open the mouth fully
Fatigue with chewing
Jaw locking
Grinding sounds with opening and closing the mouth

How is TMJ pain/dysfunction treated?

All the surrounding muscles will be evaluated and released with soft tissue therapy
A safe and gentle adjustment will be done with the Activator tool on the side of restriction
The neck will be evaluated and treated in a similar manner to relieve the stress it may put on the TMJ
If dental involvement is significant, we would refer to a dentist who specializes in TMJ problems
Souza, Thomas. Differential Diagnosis and Management for the Chiropractor: Protocols and Algorithms. Jones & Bartlett Learning; 4th edition (2009).

By: Dr. Eugenie Giasson-Gomez

Ankle Sprains

18 Feb 2015 Medical

How do ankle sprains usually happen?
It occurs with a twisting motion, most commonly with your toes pointed down and in. Some ways this can happen are as follows:
Stepping on an uneven surface
Landing on the outside of the heel
Running with too much cross-over

What are signs of a sprain?
Swelling, commonly on the outside of the ankle.
Pain and difficulty putting weight on that foot.
If the pain is too great to bear weight at all, this is a sign of a fracture.

Which structures are most commonly affected?
In order of occurrence:
Anterior talofibular ligament (aka ATFL)
Calcaneofibular ligament
Posterior talofibular ligament

How serious is it?
It depends on the grade of the sprain; which can be determined by the stability of the joint and how much pain is felt with walking. The grading system is as follows:
Grade 1: Slight tearing of the ligament with mild swelling and stiffness. There is mild pain with walking.
Grade 2: The tearing of the ligament is more severe but incomplete. There is less stability and moderate swelling and discoloration. Walking is painful.
Grade 3: A complete tear of the ligament with severe swelling and bruising. The ankle is unstable and cannot support walking. The pain is intense, especially when the ankle gives way under the persons full weight bearing on the ankle. This injury requires medical attention and surgery.

What are the possible complications?
Fracture of the talus
Fracture of the base of the fifth metatarsal
Dislocation of the peroneal tendons
Bifurcate ligament sprains
Achilles tendon injury
Ankle injuries are extremely common but fractures are found in only 15% of cases.

What is the quickest road to recovery?
Until the swelling has gone down:
Avoid full weight bearing. If it is a Grade 2 sprain, use crutches only for the first 1-3 days. Toe touching with crutch use will improve recovery time.
Ice three to five times a day for 20 minutes with an hour in between.
Rest, elevate, and compress the ankle.
See a chiropractor as soon as possible so that they may ensure that the bones in the foot are appropriately positioned to decrease undue stress on the ligaments and to speed the recovery.
Have the ankle braced with either a splint, a boot, or tape.

Once the swelling has decreased:
Wean off the crutches with gradual weight bearing.
Ice after activity

To avoid chronicity:
Before returning to activity, be sure that you are able to balance on one leg and hop on one leg without pain
Continue to ice after activity
Stretch prior to activities such as running and jogging

If chronicity does occur, do the above but also:
Tape for support before sport activities
Consider getting an orthotic fitting
Seek physical therapy

Souza, Thomas. Differential Diagnosis and Management for the Chiropractor: Protocols and Algorithms. Jones & Bartlett Learning; 4th edition (October 3, 2008).

By: Dr. Eugenie Giasson-Gomez

Knee pain

1 Feb 2015 Medical

Knee pain is very common among our population. It can occur from injury or medical conditions such as gout, arthritis and infection.

What are the common Knee injuries causes?

  1. Ignoring minor knee pain – tight muscles and inactivated (non-working)muscles can leave a knee open for injury and more serious injury.
  2. Excess weight – there is a body perfect weight for each person. Gaining just 20-30lbs can cause increased knee pain.
  3. Not resting after a knee strain or injury. If the knee doesn’t have time to heal, it makes the body more vulnerable to injury.
  4. Lack of flexibility in muscles can lead to a strain or injury.

What are the Medical Conditions that cause knee pain?

  1. Gout
  2. Arthritis Degenerative and inflammatory issues
  3. Infection
  4. Chronic Muscle injury

What are the components that make up the knee?

  1. 2 meniscus
  2. Anterior Cruciate Ligament and Posterior Cruciate Ligament
  3. Median Cruciate Ligament and Lateral Cruciate Ligament
  4. Femur, Fibular head and Tibial Head
  5. Quadriceps muscle, Hamstring, Groin Muscles, Anterior Shin muscles and Calf muscles
  6. Illiotibial Band (IT Band)
  7. Associated nerves and arteries

What are the symptoms of knee pain?

This may sound like a redundant question but when you think about the issues that make up pain, it is usually more than just pain itself. Look for the following symptoms to identify issues in your knee:

  1. Swelling
  2. Tight muscles
  3. Decreased range of motion
  4. Redness
  5. Palpable increase in temperature when feeling the knee
  6. Clicking or popping sounds that are accompanied with discomfort or pain
  7. Weakness or feeling like the knee will collapse

What are the red flags in knee pain or discomfort that alert you to go seek medical care?

  1. Swelling or increased temperature felt on the knee
  2. Weakness
  3. Inability to extend the knee
  4. Cannot bear weight on the Knee
  5. Deformity in the knee
  6. Muscle tension and Pain lasting greater than 10 days
  7. Knee pain following a fall or trauma

What are the Treatments for knee pain?

  1. Surgery if a meniscus, ligament or muscle is torn
  2. Physical Medicine: chiropractic treatment or physical therapy
  3. Massage for a muscle tension and help with injury recovery

In our office, we use manual adjustments and the Graston Technique to treat the ligaments and tendons, which is a good solution when surgery isn’t the best option.

The treatment duration takes several days to weeks with some rest and exercise strongly recommended.

Leaky Gut Syndrome

20 Nov 2014 Medical

What is Leaky Gut?

This is a condition where partially digested foods, toxins or bacteria pass through the normally tight knit wall of the small intestine into the bloodstream. The body then scans the larger than normal particles of food, bacteria or toxin and creates an autoimmune response to what it deems as foreign matter.

What is the body’s reaction to a Leaky Gut?

The intestinal wall has a series of microvilli that have tiny hairs on them that sense the food and will absorb nutrients and move them through intracellular epithelial cells of the small intestine. That is the normal healthy route. When there is a leaky gut, there is disruption of the tight junctions between epithelial cells or transcellular entry through the epithelial cells themselves. The body then has a release of Lipopolysaccharides (damage of the epithelial membrane), actomyosin (epithelial cell damage tissue), Occludin/Zonulin (tight junctions between cells) each of these go through to the blood stream which looks at them with your immune system called the T-Cells. They are not supposed to be in the blood stream so the T-Cells send out anti-bodies against your own cellular tissue.

The antibodies cause your own body to respond with inflammation, allergic reactions and a whole host of unpleasant symptoms.

What Causes Leaky Gut?

Some experts will state that the most common cause of leaky gut is ingesting foods that a person is allergic to. So what comes first the leaky gut or allergies? We just don’t know yet!

What are the symptoms of Leaky Gut?

The list is vast and we are now seeing even more correlations to immunological issues. Many of the conditions we deem as auto-immune may have a huge impact on how well our gut or intestines function. For example, some brain diseases like Alzheimer’s are found to have a high association with Leaky gut, in which one’s own body starts attacking the brain leading to degeneration. This can occur throughout the body systems.

Nutritional deficiencies
Anxiety and Depression
Impaired Immune Function
Recurrent Candida infections
Impaired memory
Moodiness or irritability
Bloating or Flatulence
Fuzzy cognition and poor concentration/fatiguing easily while doing brain related tasks
Skin rashes
Constipation or diarrhea

How do you determine if a person has a Leaky Gut Syndrome?

Testing is done to determine if a patient has leaky gut, by a blood serum test through a lab company that specializes in immunologic testing. The test is a basic screen for leaky gut and will test for the following:

Actomyosin IgA – Epithelial cell damage (intestinal wall cells)
Occludin/Zonulin IgG/IgA/IgM – Tight junction damage to the walls of the intestine
Lippopolysaccharides IgG/IgA/ IgM – Permeability and dysbiosis or bacteria leaking into the blood stream through the intestine wall

If further testing is needed to determine if certain foods like gluten or nuts are the immune reactors, then these can be tested as well to see if the brain is also being affected.

How do you Treat Leaky Gut?

Treatment depends on what the doctor determines is the main cause of the leaky gut. Here are all the possibilities and the most likely treatment actions.

Micro-Flora – this will need to be replaced and boosted to enhance immunity and heal the gut. Lactobacilli are mostly in the upper small intestine and bifidobacteria live in the lower small and large intestine.

Treatment will be a specific Probiotic that has a large number of organisms and is very diverse to see the whole intestinal tract.

Detoxification – this will be a treatment to kill the unhealthy flora in the intestine and can be tested by a stool sample or just treat to make sure that you are cleaned out.

The Treatment will be herbs that kill candida, bacteria and other negative microflora but will not kill beneficial microflora so that you have a restored balance to your gut.

Enzymes – This will be something to make sure you are breaking down food completely so that while the gut is healing large particles are not being transported into the blood stream causing immune reactions.

Treatment is Digestive Enzymes usually taken at meals to help break down foods and your doctor will help you select the correct one for your system.

Gut Healing – This is also similar to amino acids that are especially made for the gut, so that healing will occur and won’t leak – causing autoimmune type reactions.

Treatment is usually a Glutamine powder that may contain some other herbs to help you. Your doctor will help you select the correct type so that you can gain the most benefit.

Diet Changes – Your doctor will want the end goal to be using your food as medicine and this may mean doing an Elimination diet in the mean time and then slowly re-introducing foods. The purpose is so you can see what causes a reaction in your body and what doesn’t. If you are unable to do this with diet, your doctor may order a comprehensive food allergy panel that tests 190 foods to determine what causes you to have an immune reaction.

This is a basic treatment outline and there are many variations based on history and test results. Make sure your doctor is qualified and ready to handle your specific case, and you can help this process by giving a detailed intake form and history when you meet with your doctor.

Baby Mal-position (Breech) and Correction with Chiropractic

What is Baby Mal-Position?

It’s when the baby’s head position isn’t engaging with the pelvis, by either turning around in a way or tipping asymmetrically so that birth and labor are not optimally positioned. OB/GYN’s and Midwives will typically notice and classify a baby as Mal-Positioned somewhere between weeks 32-37. This may seem late but prior to these weeks, the baby will be moving into different positions often and it doesn’t matter up until the end of pregnancy because the baby is small enough in comparison to the uterus and so has plenty of room to move.

What are the different Mal-Positions?

Breech – buttock down
Complete Breech –baby is sitting cross legged on the cervix
Footling Breech – is butt down with one foot on the cervix
Knee Breech – is one or both knees on the cervix (most rare)
Frank Breech – is baby folded up with the buttock on the cervix and feet up by the head
Transverse position
Posterior position – babies nose pointing toward mom’s belly button.
Oblique position
Extended baby head
Asynclitic position with baby head tilted to one side or the other causing the cervix not to open evenly.

What are some of the Causes of Baby Mal-Position?

Stress, Anxiety or Fear
Pelvic Mis-alignment – especially the tail bone
Bad Posture
Trauma even minor bumps and bangs
Tense Uterus due to muscle or any of the above issues

A patient may present with only one of the problems or she may have a combination of several causes leading to a baby in a less than optimal position.

How do you treat Mal-Position?

Chiropractic (Webster Technique)
Acupuncture or Acupressure
Positive Attitude
Pelvic tilts
Turning position exercises on my favorite Website:
Water Walking for 30 minutes daily
External Version (last resort – very uncomfortable and not a very good success rate)

What is Webster Technique?

A technique that is performed by chiropractors to align the sacrum, the pelvis and a series of very specific muscles. The doctor’s in our office use their hands, a tool and muscle release to restore normal pelvic alignment so it allows the baby to turn when normal neuro-biomechanics are restored to mom’s body. Literature has shown that normal neuro-biomechanics allow for achieving optimal fetal-uterine position will reduce the likelihood of dystocia (difficult labor). The procedure usually takes 4 office visits to our Chiropractor. If baby isn’t turning by visit number 3, we add simultaneous acupuncture treatments. While most visits take usually 4 treatments, we have seen stubborn little ones take up to 8 visits; so please realize your baby and your body may not follow the typical guidelines. The success rate for Webster is fairly high and our doctor’s have a low fail rate. When Webster does fail it is usually due to cord position, and if baby were to turn – it would put their life in danger. So sometimes a procedure needs to fail so that we have a healthy happy baby and this is our primary goal.

How do I prevent a mal-positioned baby?

Literature does state that proper pelvic alignment throughout pregnancy does significantly correlate with a decrease in dystocia (difficult labor), mal-position and stress on the baby’s body. Women while pregnant have a greater chance of sacral mis-alignment and neuro-biomechanical issues due to the change in hormones, rapid weight gain and postural changes. Seeing a chiropractor periodically throughout a pregnancy is recommended for both mom’s and babies health. Massage can also be a tool used to maintain correct muscle movement and prevent undue stress on baby or mom. In our office, we recommend the following adjustment schedule broken down by week. This can by modified anytime if back or pelvic pain develops because they are signals that a neuro-biomechanical issue is occurring. We want to correct this before we have a stressed or mal-positioned baby. During pregnancy, exercise regularly, walking, swimming or yoga can all help maintain a healthy pelvis and help with labor as well as keeping baby in a good position while In utero.


Week 10-14 (or sooner if pain develops)
Week 18-21
Week 23-26
Week 29-32
Week 38
Week 39
Week 40 a day after due date.
(And always schedule an appointment for Acupuncture a couple days after your due date so they can naturally start encouraging labor.)
Is chiropractic care safe for pregnant women?

Chiropractic care is safe for most pregnant women. Here is a list of the exceptions. If you are already under chiropractic care, please inform your Chiropractor immediately if:

Contraindications to adjusting may include vaginal bleeding, ruptured amniotic membranes, cramping, sudden onset of pelvic pain, premature labor, placenta previa (not always a contraindication), placenta abruption, ectopic pregnancy, and moderate to severe toxemia.

Below are some References:

Carpal Tunnel and our Modern world

What is Carpal Tunnel?

This is a condition that is defined by tingling and numbness in the hand and arm which usually occurs gradually over time.  It eventually leads to hand weakness and is due to an impingement of the median nerve which runs down the center of the forearm (when you are looking at your hand with the palm up).  There are several factors that can cause it, but most are due to the persons anatomy or a repetitive action by the arm and hand most typically due to overuse on the computer.  The bones of the palm form a tunnel that protects the nerve and the 9 tendons that helps the hand to function.

What are the Symptoms?

  • Aching:  One of the first symptoms to appear is not directly a symptom of Carpal tunnel but is a sort of “Canary in the Coal mine”, meaning it is the warning sign that tingling and numbness will follow.  It is an urgent message to see a practitioner to make sure that your hands and forearm anatomy are in proper alignment so more serious symptoms don’t develop.
  •  Tingling and Numbness:  Typically tingling is felt first, followed by numbness in the thumb, index and middle finger.  The ring finger will sometimes be effected, and the little finger is usually not effected because it is controlled by another nerve.  The sensation will be much like your hand has gone to sleep and you need to shake it to wake it up.  As symptoms progress, the numbness may go from occasional to constant.
  • Weakness:  Often dropping items or not being able to grasp very well progresses over time making symptoms much worse.  The most common weakness that occurs is the pinching movement of the thumb as this is controlled almost entirely by the median nerve.

What Causes Carpal Tunnel Syndrome?

It is a compression of the median nerve on the hand.  Here are the most common ways to get carpal tunnel in our modern world:

  • Repetitive jobs:  assembly line work, dental, computer work, and some construction jobs
  • Fractures
  • Pregnancy: increased swelling will sometimes cause carpal tunnel like symptoms till baby is born.
  • Women are more likely to get Carpal Tunnel due to having smaller carpal tunnels
  • Dislocation of the hand/wrist
  • Inflammatory conditions: Rheumatoid arthritis and many other disorders
  • Work with Vibrational tools

This is only a small list and many other things also can cause this condition.   Don’t assume you do not have carpal tunnel because your job factor isn’t listed here.

How is Carpal Tunnel Diagnosed?

It  is done by a thorough history or examination of your symptoms to see if you have some of the risk factors and how the gradual onset of symptoms or the trauma occurred.  The doctor will do a physical exam performing a series of orthopedic tests that put pressure on the Median Nerve in several different ways.  An Xray may be ordered or an Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) will be done to rule out other issues such as arthritis, neuroma or other anatomical variations that may be causing the issue.  Lastly, a Nerve conduction study or a Surface Electromyography (EMG) study that will done to see if the median nerve is conducting a current all the way from the neck, elbow and into the palm.  This is to make sure that nerve damage isn’t occurring which would need to be addressed with a surgical option immediately.

How is Carpal Tunnel Treated?

If your history and exam only reveal a mild onset of symptoms, you can see a chiropractor that specializes in adjustments and soft tissue injuries.  We recommend that you see one that is specialized in the Graston Technique as it has been shown to be very effective for treating Carpal Tunnel and offers significant improvement in about 8 visits.  Graston releases the tight muscles and adhesions caused in the palmar forearm and will need to be iced after treatment as some minor swelling may occur.  Physical therapy may also be needed to strengthen areas of weakness that lead to the carpal tunnel issue originally as well as re-training those injured areas.  Splints may be recommended to keep the tunnel open and your wrist in as optimal a position as possible.  Corticosteroids are also tried if the previous more conservative treatments have failed.  We do recommend Corticosteroids over surgery.  Lastly if severe enough nerve compression is present, the patient will have to look at surgical options but we do recommend this as a last resort since the carpal tunnel is narrow and scar tissue can form post-surgically as well which causes further problems down the road.

We treat Carpal tunnel in our office and you can expect a combination of Graston therapy, Kinesio Tape and adjustments  for  the treatment regiment.  This is an area great concern. Silicon Valley has a lot of Carpal Tunnel issues because of how many of us use computers, cell phones and tablets on a daily basis.  Don’t wait for it to get so bad before getting it evaluated and treated.

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