Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
What is Carpal Tunnel Syndrome?
The carpal tunnel is located on the palm side of your wrist. Its main role is to protect the main nerve to your hand and the nine tendons that help bend your fingers. When this nerve is compressed, it causes numbness, tingling and eventually hand weakness.
Various factors can contribute to the development of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome including the anatomy of your wrist, underlying health problems, and patterns of repetitive hand use.
What are the Symptoms of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome?
Numbness or tingling of the thumb and fingers, particularly the index and middle fingers, is one of the most common symptoms of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome. This sensation is often felt when holding a steering wheel, phone or newspaper.
Weakness in the hands is also a common symptom of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome, leading to a tendency to drop objects. Weakness usually develops after numbness or tingling.
The symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome develop gradually but tend to worsen at night. This is often because of sleep position, where wrists are flexed during sleep.
The following health conditions can contribute to the development of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome:
- Rheumatoid arthritis
Who is Prone to Carpal Tunnel Syndrome?
Persons who sit at a computer and use a keyboard for extended hours are at a higher risk of developing Carpal Tunnel Syndrome; for example, typists or office clerks who deal with key entry. Some other populations at risk are grocery line workers, packers in the meat and fish industry, musicians and mechanics; as their work entails gripping objects with their wrist bent. For the same reason hobbies such as gardening, needlework, golfing and canoeing may also cause Carpal Tunnel Syndrome. Smoking has also been found to contribute to Carpal Tunnel Syndrome as it limits the blood flow to the median nerve.
Carpal Tunnel Syndrome is more common in women than men. Studies in the UK have found that 3 in 100 men and 5 in 100 women suffer from Carpal Tunnel Syndrome at some point in their lives.
TRIGGER POINT SELF TREATMENT TECHNIQUE:
This technique involves locating the heart of the trigger/tender point. When this is compressed it may well trigger a specific referred pain map (preferably reproducing your symptoms). This technique involves applying direct, gentle and sustained pressure to the point:
1. Identify the tender/trigger point you wish to work on (see illustration above).
2. Place the host muscle in a comfortable position, where it is relaxed and can undergo full stretch.
3. Apply gentle, gradually increasing pressure to the tender point until you feel resistance. This should be experienced as discomfort and not as pain.
4. Apply sustained pressure until you feel the tender point yield and soften. This can take from a few seconds to several minutes.
5. Steps 3-4 can be repeated, gradually increasing the pressure on the tender/trigger point until it has fully yielded.
6. To achieve a better result, you can try to change the direction of pressure during these repetitions.
TRIGGER POINT SELF HELP - ADVICE
There are many reasons why you might have trigger points, so it is important to consider your trigger point pain in the context of the rest of your body. It must be stressed that the techniques offered on this page are not a substitute for therapy from a qualified practitioner; although aches and pains from trigger points are common, there can sometimes be an underlying pathology. It is advisable to always seek a proper diagnosis from a qualified medical practitioner or experienced manual therapist.
Stretching is an important part of the rehabilitation process and should begin as soon as pain allows and be continued throughout the rehabilitation program and beyond - Good maintenance prevents re-injury.
- Interlock your fingers in front of your chest
- Then straighten your arms and turn the palms of your hands outwards