Treating and Preventing Carpal Tunnel Syndrome with Myotherapy
What is carpal tunnel syndrome?
Without getting too complicated, the carpal tunnel is a tight passage in your wrist that the median nerve travels through. This nerve controls both the feeling and mobility in your thumb and first three fingers. Additionally, the tendons controlling the thumb and some of your fingers run through here. All up, it’s more congested than Collins Street at 8:30 on a Monday morning.
Carpal Tunnel Syndrome is the pinching of this median nerve, which usually affects the fingers, hand, and wrist.
Who is at more of a risk?
To be honest, if you’ve got hands, there’s a chance you could experience some form of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome. However, before you take a vow never to lift, prod, or move anything ever again, keep reading. In the vast majority of cases Carpal Tunnel Syndrome can be easily treated, and the effects can be pretty muted.
Rather unfairly, women seem to be at higher risk, up to 3 times more depending on who you ask. Although nobody’s 100% certain on exactly why, we think it’s probably due to women having naturally smaller wrists. Furthermore, if you’re a woman planning to experience pregnancy or the menopause, you can expect all those hormonal shifts in your body to lift your risk. Good job there’s no discomfort or pain involved in any other part of pregnancy or childbirth…
Although a lot of anecdotal evidence seems to suggest that those who spend much of their day bashing away at a computer keyboard or whizzing a mouse around in their hand are at increased risk, the scientific investigations don’t fully support this. If you’re in a profession that requires a lot of wrist movement at unusual angles (like assembly line workers, or even musicians) then you might be more prone to problems.
Is it something to be concerned about?
As we touched on earlier, there’s no need to panic right now. The primary symptom is a weakness in the wrists or hands. Obviously, this can become an issue as it will impact mobility and your ability to grasp certain objects. If you thought doing that button on your jeans up after Christmas lunch was tough, you’ve got another thing coming.
Another common symptom is a tingling sensation through the hands or fingers. This will typically begin as a feeling similar to ‘pins and needles’ but can develop into a nasty pain if left unchecked. Eventually this pain may begin to radiate up the arm, at which point discomfort begins pretty unsettling.
So what can a myotherapist do to help?
The first thing a myotherapist will do is look to give you relief from symptoms. There are a range of non-invasive treatments which will significantly help in the majority of cases. These include deep tissue massaging, tailored stretching, and dry needling. If you’ve left it a little bit too long before seeking help, we may suggest you don a small splint.
Once your symptoms are beginning to subside, we can work on preventing a reoccurrence. As well as strengthening the area and giving you exercises to stretch off before and after repeated use, a qualified myotherapist will be able to show you the correct method for performing frequent tasks, which is going to reduce the unnecessary strain on the carpal tunnel.