It’s a painful and debilitating condition that causes hand and wrist pain due to pressure on the nerves in the wrist. Read on to learn about carpal tunnel syndrome, what causes it and how it can be managed with the help of osteopathic therapy.
The Carpal Tunnel
The carpal tunnel refers to the narrow part of the wrist that opens to the hand. The median nerve and flexor tendons run through the carpal tunnel, helping to give feeling and movement to our fingers and thumb. The carpal ligaments and wrist bones surround the carpal tunnel, creating a rigid boundary.
What Is Carpal Tunnel Syndrome?
Carpal tunnel syndrome occurs when your median nerve becomes compressed. This occurs when the tunnel narrows or the flexor tendons swell with nowhere to go. The result can lead to reduced blood flow as well as the compressed nerve, which can be painful.
What Are The Symptoms?
The most common symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome include:
- Numbness and tingling in the thumb and fingers or palm that can feel like pins and needles.
- Weakness in the muscles of the hands; difficulty gripping things.
- Swollen fingers.
- Nerve pain in your wrist or hand that can be severe.
- Pain that radiates up your arm.
What Causes Carpal Tunnel Syndrome?
Inflammation can cause the swelling that compresses the median nerve. Conditions that can cause this compression include:
- Thyroid dysfunction
- Fluid retention in pregnancy
- High blood pressure
- Rheumatoid arthritis
- Wrist fractures
Repetitive movements of the wrist such as using a keyboard or mouse, hand tools or power tools or even playing the piano can aggravate Carpal Tunnel Syndrome. If you’re experiencing wrist pain, the best thing to do is to press pause on the activity that’s causing you pain, and come and see us in the Rainham or Maidstone clinic.
What Is Carpal Tunnel Syndrome Common In Pregnancy?
It’s is common in pregnancy, with 3-5 out of every 10 women experiencing the condition. This is because pregnancy hormones promote fluid retention and swelling, and soften the ligaments. Therefore, causing the median nerve to be squashed in the carpal tunnel. If you’re experiencing carpal tunnel during pregnancy, chat to us here in the clinic today. By treating your symptoms early, we can manage the condition appropriately, as carpal tunnel can continue after birth and be exacerbated by lifting and holding your baby in certain positions (e.g. while feeding).
How Can Osteopathy Help?
Osteopathic treatment can help to treat the symptoms of carpal tunnel. As osteopaths, we will assess your symptoms and come up with an individualised care plan to reduce your symptoms and manage your pain.
Your treatment plan will depend on the symptoms you’re experiencing and may include ice therapy, gentle soft tissue massage, and joint manipulation. Exercises and stretches may be included as part of your treatment. Commonly with carpal tunnel syndrome, it is advised to take regular breaks from repetitive tasks and reduce movement of the wrists. A splint may be used to help with this.
If you fear you’re experiencing carpal tunnel syndrome, come and see us. We are here to help! We will assess your symptoms and come up with a treatment plan to help relieve the pain. Click here to contact the clinic today.