Carpal Tunnel – What to do?
Carpal Tunnel Syndrome can be extremely painful and debilitating.
We use our hands all the time and for everything, so experiencing pain and loss of sensation within the hands can be very agonising for the patient.
Carpal Tunnel is usually diagnosed way after less invasive methods of intervention can be deemed to be useful. This is because people tend to leave their symptoms hoping they will go away until the pain, and other related symptoms, become unbearable. But if caught within good time, carpal tunnel can be easily resolved with gentle manual techniques.
Carpal Tunnel Syndrome is compression of the median nerve in the space at the front of the wrist. The median nerve controls muscles of the hand and supplies sensation to the skin of the hand. Thus compression of this nerve leads to pain and weakness of the hand and loss of sensation with numbness or pins and needles.
The compression occurs because the space at the front of the wrist becomes congested usually by thickening of the soft tissues that run through that area i.e. forearm muscle tendons and their sheaths.
The biomechanics of this relate to the frequent and repetitive use of these muscles causing the tendons to thicken, the muscles to bulk up and shorten and thus compression of the many small bones of the wrist. All of these changes over time can reduce the space and increase the friction within the carpal tunnel reducing the efficiency of the mechanics of the wrist itself.
It is these biomechanics that cause Carpal Tunnel to be common in those who are office workers, PC users, musicians and those in the building trade. However it can also occur via pregnancy and via endocrine disorders such as Hypothyroidism and Diabetes Mellitus.
The traditional medical approach to Carpal Tunnel is corticosteroid injection and rest. If symptoms do not subside from this, surgery is advised. However the recovery time for this is 6 months and if you suffer on both sides that’s a year of recuperation!! A very long time to avoid using your hands!!
The best way to deal with carpal tunnel is to catch it early and prevent onset. If you are in the above categories of people, consider yourselves to be in a risk group for Carpal Tunnel.
Do exercises every day to stretch the forearm muscles and keep the wrists mobile. Try prayer pose and reverse prayer pose, holding for 20 seconds whilst deep breathing. Do wrist circles to encourage mobility of the wrist.
If you work with PCs, use an Ergomouse rather than the traditional style. Use a wrist rest whilst typing on consecutive days. Ensure you have had your workstation setup accurately by the relevant specialist at your workplace.
If you are in the building trade, avoid overuse with heavy vibrational tools. Ensure you are not using them every single day.
If you are concerned about potential symptoms described or if you feel you are at risk of Carpal Tunnel, make an appointment at the Elite Clinic London where we can help.
0203 514 8957