Could You Skip This Surgery?

I think a lot of people here in the U.S. are happy with their jobs inside of offices.

Working inside, where you’re protected from the brutal heat of the summer and the frigid chill of the winter isn’t all that bad. I know I enjoy being inside. 

Compared to the days when I used to sweat bullets at soccer practices at Wake Forest, it’s a bit of a relief.

Don’t get me wrong, though, those days were some of the best days of my life.

But I digress…

Though working inside is often seen to be easier on the body, the truth is it doesn’t come without risks. Fact is, one of the most common medical conditions our workforce deals with is carpal tunnel syndrome. And dealing with carpal tunnel costs companies millions – if not billions – in lost revenue.

If you’ve ever had carpal tunnel, you know just how painful and encumbering it can be.

Carpal tunnel syndrome is one of the most common workplace injuries in the U.S. It’s believed 1 out of every 2 work-related injury reports has to do with carpal tunnel. This syndrome is characterized by pain, numbness, and weakness in the wrist and hand.

And no, carpal tunnel isn’t just for people who spend all day pounding on a keyboard. People across all industries end up dealing with it.

For those who are afflicted with severe forms of this condition, surgery to fix the problem is usually one of the go-to treatments.

However, a new study shows surgery might not be a requirement for people who suffer from this debilitating condition.

According to Spanish researchers, who wanted to see if there were better ways to help cure people of their carpal tunnel syndrome, simple physical therapy could possibly help more than surgery.

Their preliminary research reported when people with carpal tunnel performed physical therapy on their neck and median nerve (a nerve running the course of one’s arm) and did light stretching, it could eliminate their need for surgery.  

To reach this conclusion, the researchers followed 100 women with carpal tunnel syndrome.

They then randomly split the group, making it so 50 women got surgery and 50 women received physical therapy focusing on their neck, median nerve, and stretching exercises at home. 

The results from this split test were astounding.

As Medical Express wrote

“After one month, the patients in the physical therapy group had better hand function during daily activities and better grip strength (also known as pinch strength between the thumb and index finger) than the patients who had surgery. 

At three, six, and 12 months following treatment, patients in the surgery group were no better than those in the physical therapy group.

Both groups showed similar improvements in function and grip strength. Pain also decreased similarly for patients in both groups. 

The researchers conclude that physical therapy and surgery for carpal tunnel syndrome yield similar benefits one year after treatment. No improvements in cervical range of motion were observed in either patient group.”

Those results are pretty impressive.  And, if you think about it, this could really help employees become more productive, and might even save the companies tons of money in the long run.

The observations here could be extrapolated into all other kinds of facets of health as well.

Too often conventional medicine says we need to fix problems with surgery or medicines.

When, in reality, these issues could often be corrected through improving diet and making other lifestyle changes.

If you have carpal tunnel syndrome, I would suggest looking into therapy before moving forward with surgery.

After all, surgery is expensive, can have unintended side effects, and doesn’t always promise to restore normal function. 

Talk soon,

Dr. Wiggy

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