Treatment & Causes of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
Carpal Tunnel Syndrome (CTS)
The pain associated with carpal tunnel is due to the compression of the median nerve that runs through the middle of the arm. The compression occurs at the wrist and is often aggravated by activities that involve gripping, flexing and bending of the wrist. Presently, carpal tunnel syndrome affects about four percent of the general population.
Carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS) usually occurs over time and in many cases become gradually worse. Fortunately, many of the effects of CTS can be reversed by understanding what is happening and then modifying your physical activities involving your wrist and hands.
In some instances, life style changes would also benefit as in the case of CTS and High Blood pressure.
Common Signs of Carpal Tunnel
- Low-level pain or discomfort in the hand, forearm or upper arm
- Feeling of pins and needles (paraesthesia) in the hand
- Lack of strength (atrophy) at the base of the thumb
- Loss of touch sensitivity (hypoaesthesia)
- Color changes in skin, dryness and swelling
Common Causes of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
The median nerve when compressed will restrict blood flow to the hand and fingers. This restriction produces the unwanted symptoms. The median nerve can become compressed by either inflammation or by physical movements and/or positions of the hand.
Below is a list of common conditions that are commonly associated with carpal tunnel syndrome.
- high blood pressure
- fluid retention from pregnancy or menopause
- fractures or trauma to the wrist
- thyroid dysfunction
- autoimmune disorders such as rheumatoid arthritis
- Being overweight can increase your risk of getting carpal tunnel syndrome
In addition to inflammation causing illnesses and conditions, carpal tunnel syndrome is associated with physical activities that result in repetitive movements of the wrist. Such activities include:
- The in proper use of keyboards and mouse for extended periods of time
- Prolonged use of equipment (hand and power tools) that generate extensive vibrations to the hand
- Musical instrument training that puts extended strain on the wrist (piano, violin, guitar)
How to Relieve Carpal Tunnel
Carpal tunnel syndrome can be relieved through various methods that include home treatment, medication, surgery and Bowen Therapy. Home treatment works best when symptoms are mild and only occur occasionally, such symptoms such as tingling sensations, numbness, weakness and/or pain in your hands or fingers.
Home Remedies for Carpal Tunnel:
- Relieve pressure and bending around the wrist area by keeping your wrist as straight as possible
- Apply ice to the inflammation to reduce swelling
- Use a wrist splint at night – the splint will remove pressure by keeping your wrist straight
Medication for Carpal Tunnel:
Doctors often use corticosteroids to lower pain and decrease inflammation around the carpal tunnel area. The reduction of inflammation allows blood to flow through the median vein which helps to minimize the effects of a compressed nerve.
It’s important to note that injections of corticosteroids directly into the problem area significantly works better than taking oral medication.
Surgery for Carpal Tunnel:
In some instances, surgery is required to remove the ligament that is compressing the median nerve. The procedure usually is performed by cutting the transverse carpal ligament. Surgery is only recommended as a last resort when other methods fail and daily activities are affected by carpal tunnel syndrome.
How Bowen Therapy Improves Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
Bowen Therapy uses a non-invasive, relaxing and pain-free method that focuses on relaxing and freeing the stiffness in your arms, forearms, and wrist area where the median nerve is compressed and causes carpal tunnel syndrome.
Bowen Therapy targets specific muscles and connective tissues by providing precise rolling movements which activate your natural ability to heal.
Carpal Tunnel Prevention
Carpal Tunnel Syndrome can be prevented by avoiding repetitive stress and vibrations on the wrist. In many cases, repetitive tasks in work have been analyzed and redesigned to provide better, safer ergonomic equipment.
Such equipment includes special mouse pads, increased breaks, and keyboard alternatives (voice recognition, digital pens, touch screens) that lessen the time involved using a computer keyboard.
Stretching exercises also can help in reducing the pressure in the carpal tunnel area. Such activities include placing a hand on a flat table while gently pressing the fingers and palm. A second exercise involves clenching your hands into a fist, and then releasing your fingers while gently moving your fingers.
It’s important to note that such exercises are to be performed in a gentle manner and should never invoke pain or discomfort.
Carpal Tunnel Ergonomic Devices
Carpal Tunnel Syndrome is often related to repetitive tasks in the workplace. In many cases, CTS can be prevented or mitigated through the proper working environments. Today’s workforce spends countless hours at the computer which is suspected as one of the leading causes of CTS.
We recommend that everyday users use the proper keyboard and mouse pads while at the computer. Such devices help to elevate the wrist to prevent the median nerve from getting compressed.
Figure 1 – mouse and keyboard pads
Figure 2 – Ergonomically designed pens
In addition to mouse and keyboards, pens are now being specifically designed to reduce the pressure associated with writing over extended periods of time.
We recommend that everyone understands that repetative tasks are one of the main contributors to carpal tunnal syndrome. When possible take care of your self by using ergonomically designed equiptment when possible.
If you’re experiencing persistent feelings of tingling, numbness or weakness in your hands which affect your normal daily activities including sleep, untreated carpal tunnel syndrome can lead towards permanent nerve and muscle damage. Give us a call we can help evaluate your pain and in many cases eleviate your pain all together.
About My Bowen Therapy
My Bowen Therapy is a popular pain relief clinic has been helping people who suffer from aches and pains. We are active in the Kuala Lumpur community and have had several radio appearances on BFM.
Our pain relief services are unique in that they focus on the body’s natural ability to heal which has been documented through the work of Tom Bowen.
Please feel free to contact us for a FREE phone consultation or book an appointment. Today could be the day you begin to relieve your body of pain.