Osteopathy and Carpal Tunnel Syndrome – All you have to know

A most common condition that affects the nerves.

Feeling numbness, burning, and tingling sensation of the hand, mostly at night, then you may have Carpal Tunnel Syndrome CTS). As indicated, symptoms usually occur at night, which spreads to the whole hand but can even spread to the forearm (sparing the little finger). In intense cases, the burning pain may become severe. 

What causes CTS to occur?

Usually, pressure or compression felt on the median nerve is the cause of CTS. The median nerve originates near the neck, and supplies muscles of the hand. During the course, the nerve travels through the muscles or between the muscles, which may cause irritation or compression at some point. The condition occurs when the median nerve gets compressed while passing through the wrist area, causing difficulties. People may hang the arm (affected) over the side of the bed or shake hands to get out of the difficulties of CTS.

Don’t run with tears. Osteopathic techniques can show you massive results and help you get rid of the problem!! 

Causes and Risk factors of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

Carpal tunnel is a small passage in the wrist, made of small bones and a tissue band, acting as a “pulley structure” enabling the movement and bending of fingers by the tendon. Usually, the risk of developing CTS occurs within the family. As mentioned above, the median nerve supplies the hand and enhances movement, and carries signals into the brain from the fingers and thumbs about sensation.

The exact cause for the development of CTS or compression of the median nerve is unknown. But the risk of developing the disease lies mostly in people having pre-existing diseases such as Rheumatoid Arthritis, diabetes, hypertension, etc. pregnant ladies are also a very vulnerable group to the condition. It can be compressed during pregnancy, swelling and scar tissue occur. But in pregnant women, after delivery, the condition may subside after three months but prolonged effects are also seen in certain cases.

Some causes that lead to the condition are; overuse, mainly due to occupational reasons, overuse of muscles. Poor lymphatic (the fluid that carries nutrients to organs and tissues and removes unwanted wastes is lymph) drainage is also a possible cause of the condition to occur. It depends upon the pumping action of muscles, the contraction and relaxation, when seen, edematous hand and arthritic changes of hand and wrist are as a result of poor lymphatic drainage. Joint restriction of the upper spine makes it narrower, restricting fluid drainage and hence exerting more pressure on the nerves.

Narrowing of the tunnel can also be a part of the congenital factor, where it is smaller. The repeated activity of the hand or finger is a triggering factor that leads to the condition. In addition to this, an injury of the trauma of the wrist causing edema or swelling, occupational factors like stress from work, mechanical factors, rheumatoid arthritis, and continuous use of hand tools especially those of vibrating type

Symptoms of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

Entrapping of the median nerve when passing through the wrist is the main cause of carpal tunnel syndrome. The median nerve controls the movement of sensation of fingers and thumb (of palm aspect or side).  It also has innervations of muscles that help the movement of fingers and thumb. the pressure leads to swelling, that irritates soft tissues, tendons, fascia of the wrist, causing narrowing of passage. 

The compression leads to the tingling sensation of the hand, numbness of the hand, weakness of thumb, pain and clumsiness, itching, burning usually on the middle finger, thumb, and index finger, dull aching pain of arm and hand. Symptoms start gradually and over time, more aggravated at night hours, which may disturb and alter sleep. But the pain may also occur during morning hours when doing certain works like household activity, writing, etc. dropping off things, restriction of fine motor activities including fastening buttons are common symptoms noticed among sufferers.

Osteopathic treatment of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

Osteopathic treatments can offer the best results and alleviate the common symptoms when it comes to Carpal Tunnel Syndrome. Treatment focuses on the upper back region aiming at freeing or easing the restrictions of movement and balancing the body and nervous system, improving the lymphatic drainage and blood flow from arms and hands, reducing the weakness or stress of ligaments and muscles. Treatment generally involves muscles of the arm, area of shoulder and neck and upper back are considered. When needed, Osteopaths may direct to GP and advise surgery to ease pain and pressure, at places where manual or hand on treatment is not sufficient to get out of the symptoms. 

Our treatment at Richards Osteopathy mainly involves using subtle and gentle manipulative Osteopathic techniques like the stretch of soft tissue, mobilization of joints, improving range of motion by removing restrictions of the affected hand, joint, or fingers, and release of adhesion between tissues through a holistic method.  When suspecting the disease condition, pressure is applied over the nerve, to find whether it is sensitive or not. Conduction tet s done with the nerve, to note if it is affected, when performing tests the symptoms might reappear. ligaments that pass the wrist at its front is a common site where compression can occur. While performing the nerve conduction test, ligaments may appear to be tight, and the test is supposed to be positive.

Methods to increase the diameter of passage and remove the narrowing I often done, through which nerve compression and swelling can be reduced, thereby increasing the movement.   Any dysfunction of the upper back, shoulder, the arm is also removed. 

Complete case history is taken, followed by an evaluation of the patient before starting the treatment procedure. Some of the treatment techniques followed are as follows:

  • Myofascial release on hand, wrist, forearm, and arm
  • Exercises to stretch, support, and strengthen the patient preparing them for self-help

An improvement in nerve conduction and enhanced mobility of joints are usually noted among the patients. The result is pressure reduction on the median nerve. 

Preventive options: take rest from continuous work involving your hand, correction of the position of wrist and posture, and performing exercises involving the opposite motion of fingers that they are mostly used to that cause strengthening of the finger, wrist, and joint to improve the mobility of hand and fingers, reducing or removing the pain.

We will help you avoid the condition from recurrence and relapse, and supports your fast recovery. Come to us, at Richards Osteopathy!!!

Family group

Carpal Tunnel Syndrome is becoming increasingly common thanks to the use of computer keyboards. Symptoms vary, but numbness or tingling in the wrists/hands and thumb/index finger are usual present. Treatment often includes nonsteroidal medications, wrist splints, osteopathic manipulation, and stretches

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