“An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” - Benjamin Franklin
When it comes to pain and dysfunction, we need to have a proactive mindset instead of a reactive one. It's easier to prevent a fire than it is to put one out. Today we are looking at something that people who use their hands a lot for work can suffer with, Carpal Tunnel Syndrome. In my experience true carpal tunnel syndrome in isolation is rare. What I mean by that is there are often a few things that are contributing to this that are up the chain in the forearm, elbow shoulder and even neck.
What is true carpal tunnel syndrome?
It's caused by pressure on your median nerve, which runs the length of the arm, goes through a passage in the wrist called the carpal tunnel, and ends in the hand. The median controls the movement and feeling of your thumb, and also the movement of all your fingers except your pinky.
As carpal tunnel syndrome becomes more severe, you may have less grip strength because the muscles in your hand shrink. Pain and muscle cramping will also become worse.
The median nerve begins to lose function because of the irritation or pressure around it. This leads to:
● Slower nerve impulses
● Loss of feeling in the fingers
● A loss of strength and coordination, especially the ability to use your thumb to pinch
When we have treated these types of conditions in the past there are a few areas that commonly help alleviate symptoms that are not directly at the carpal tunnel. Below are three things to consider trying if you have any of the symptoms that mimic the things listed above.
Consider the neck as a possible culprit. If you have stiffness, pain or previous issues at the neck it can be a sneaky reason causing symptoms that show up in the hand.
Muscles that cross the forearm, specifically the pronator muscle, are possibly constricting the median nerve and referring to the hand. This is common with desk workers or people that have to use there grip a lot.
Breathing patterns are another area we assess. With chronic breathing that is all in the chest and neck musculature due to stress we tend to see excess tension being put on the nerve bundles that originate there. We have to give these structures a chance to rest and relax with a different pattern of breathing.
We see great results treating this condition and looking at the entire body for answers. Let us know if you have any questions!
Your Elevate Team
PS: Don’t forget about our “The Influence of Sleep on Athletic Performance” on Wednesday, October 24, 2018 at 7:00 PM. We would love to see you there!