Eliminating Wrist Pain Associated with Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

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Are you tired of wrist pain?  Do you have symptoms consisting of pain, numbness, tingling and paresthesia (pins and needles) in the thumb, index, middle or one-half of the ring finger?

If you said “yes” to any of those symptoms and they affect at least one of the fingers listed, you may be suffering from carpal tunnel wrist pain.  Now that you know what you have, the next step is to understand how you got it and then

Computers and Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

eliminate it!  (Of course check with your doctor to be sure you do not have something more serious, but also, do not let them just push you to surgery as it has a poor success rate with long-term effects.  Remember, it is your health, so take charge of how you want to address it!)

Carpal tunnel wrist pain, numbness and tingling are most often result from a muscle imbalanced between the extensor muscles that open the hands and the flexor muscles that close the hands.   All of the activities that people perform on a daily basis include an incredible amount of resisted flexion, i.e. holding onto the steering wheel of the car, typing, texting, mousing, playing instruments, playing video games, turning a doorknob, holding utensils, and on and on... This is one of the reasons why it is so disturbing to see therapists recommend flexion / squeezing exercises to their patients to eliminate carpal tunnel syndrome, as gripping motions only increases the muscle imbalance and the associated symptoms.

In comparison, the mount of resisted finger and wrist extension that individuals perform on a daily basis is a fraction of the amount of flexion activities that are performed.  On top of that, is the large amount of finger adduction (brining the fingers together) vs. finger abduction (spreading the fingers apart).  This overuse in one-directional movement patterns leads to an ever-increasing muscle imbalance, which most often leads to carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS) or other forms of repetitive strain injury (RSI).

   

The key to the prevention and treatment of carpal tunnel syndrome pain is maintaining an equal balance of muscle length and strength, and to achieve that, you need to lengthen the finger / wrist flexors and finger adductors while strengthening the finger / wrist extensors and finger abductors via resistance exercise.  It is important to remember that the Basic and Advanced carpal tunnel stretches (see link below) can help, but stretches MUST be followed with strengthening exercises for the antagonist (opposing) muscle group in order to maintain the muscle length/integrity that was just achieved from stretching or they go right back to the previous position.  That is why when people stretch, it almost becomes addictive as they feel the need to stretch more and more, but without any satisfactory relief. (Note: The resistance exercises are to be performed without "gripping / flexion", which means you cannot hold onto a dumbbell or exercise handle.)

This is one reason why many clinics and end users are using Flextend / Restore for their main exercise source.  It, simply put, is incredible at allowing the user to perform the necessary exercises to not only help prevent the onset of injury, but eliminate an existing injury and increase overall performance.  Professional athletes actually use this exercise system for increased grip and performance, and professional musicians and gamers use it for increased dexterity and speed.

Author: Jeff P. Anliker, LMT – Check out these basic and advanced exercises and stretches that can help provide immediateand long-term relief from carpal tunnel syndrome wrist pain.