Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

WHAT IS CARPAL TUNNEL SYNDROME (CTS)?

CTS affects the wrist. The median nerve that travels through the carpal tunnel is affected giving signs and symptoms of numbness, tingling and pain. The pain can be severe and debilitating or an annoying ache and numbness in the palm of the hand. It is normally worse during the night and first thing in the morning. During sleep, wrist positioning may make the signs and symptoms worse.

The median nerve travels from the fingers, through the hand and wrist via the carpal tunnel up the arm through the brachial plexus and into the neck where it connects to the spinal cord. If one or more of these structures are not functioning as they should, signs and symptoms develop. Osteopaths check that there are no obstructions and this helps in reducing pain from nerve irritation. If this is not treated, then scar tissue can build up with long lasting damage to the thumb, first two fingers and hand.

The nerve comes from the brachial plexus which is situated under the collarbone, over the first rib and into the armpit. Congestion in the pectoral/chest muscles will cause signs and symptoms so Remedial & Sports Massage should help ease the signs and symptoms. It really isn't a case of giving the wrist a rub! The muscles that operate the hand, thumb and fingers begin in the forearm so these muscles will need to be assessed and treated as necessary. 

There are a number of causes. RSI of the wrist is the most common, hormonal changes during pregnancy, obesity and hand trauma are others

We find that people suffering from this debilitating condition respond well to Remedial & Sports Massage. As muscle tension is reduced in the muscles of the forearm and trigger points treated, pain reduces. We find that extra tension in the forearm muscles are often the culprit as their tendons pass through the carpal tunnel. If there is an extra pull on these tendons, they will be compromised and liable to irritation and thus inflammation. As the tendons swell, the space in the carpal tunnel is reduced.. It really is a good idea to try massage before any other invasive procedures. Taping may also help. Megan Ryan offers this service. Emotional Freedom Technique can also help with the pain especially at night.

It is always wise to have a spinal check to ensure that there are no contributions to the condition e.g. interference from the neck or first rib being out of alignment.

If you do have a repetitive job - e.g.working on a computer, then regular stretching and changing positioning is important as if overall fitness.

PREVENTION IS BETTER THAN CURE!

  • A regular Massage will relax, increase awareness and reduce stress.
  • Areas of congestion can be massaged BEFORE the pain kicks in.
  • Breathing muscles can be worked helping overall energy levels and circulation
  • Vulnerable areas can be massaged before there is a problem keeping the muscles, tendons, ligaments, soft tissues and joints supple and in peak condition.
  • Warm up before you start the activity
  • Check your posture – relax!
  • Don’t hunch your shoulders
  • Ensure that you know how to work the machine and that you and it are at the optimum height – take advice.
  • If seated make sure that the seat suits you
  • BREATHE it is easy to forget!
  • Take frequent breaks – a quick stretch and shake – regular stretching is fab!
  • Change activity or at least position when you can – even a few minutes will make a difference – awareness keeps you safe
  • Good nutrition: no more junk food really aim to nourish your body
  • Drinking enough water to keep tissues hydrated and able to repair
  • Regular exercise aerobic and anaerobic
  • Identify stressors and work with trying not to get stressed by them
  • Improving lifestyle: take time for yourself

Pain and swelling CAN be reduced and movement then becomes easier. As a result there is less reliance on drugs and consequently fewer problems.

Working with a ball can help with CTS. Ask at reception for a demo of the ball that strengthens all the muscles to help blood flow and drainage.

THERAPY OPTIONS AVAILABLE FOR THIS CONDITION AT BROOKS-CARTER CLINIC