tunnel syndrome is a disabling condition characterized
by pain, numbness, tingling, paresthesia (pins and needles, swelling and in advanced cases, muscle wasting of the thenar eminence of
In most cases, Carpal Tunnel Syndrome is caused by muscle imbalance between the muscles in the hand and forearm that flex and adduct the fingers and those that extend and abduct the fingers, ultimately
leading to entrapment of the median nerve that supplies function and feeling to the thumb, index, middle and one-half of the ring finger. Carpal Tunnel Syndrome can
be exceedingly painful and is often associated
with decreased strength and coordination in the
hand when left untreated. Although there are numerous treatments that exist, ranging from surgery to massage,
the most effective are those that correct
the underlying muscle imbalance that is the root cause of
During an initial doctor visit, patients
may be prescribed non-steroidal anti-inflammatory
drugs (NSAIDS) to reduce pain and swelling as well as a wrist brace to reduce wrist flexion which cause increased impingement of the median nerve. The patient may also be advised to refrain
from movements that place undue pressure
on the affected area. However, these are
generally short-term treatments intended
to provide relief of acute symptoms but do nothing to correct the underlying cause of the dysfunction, which is a muscle imbalance.
Long-term treatment for carpal tunnel syndrome
often comes in the form of corrective exercises that
promote muscle balance in the muscles that lie within and surround the carpal tunnel. These exercises are designed to lengthen the overly restrictive finger and wrist flexors and finger adductors and strengthen the underdeveloped finger and wrist extensors and finger abductors, thereby eliminating the muscle imbalance and creating equal tension on both sides of the wrist joint.
Although many occupational
and physical therapists used nerve and tendon "gliding" exercises
in the early stages of the illness and a variety of exercises, be aware that most of the exercises prescribed are the OPPOSITE of what the patient should use to correct the imbalance. Avoid, gripping, squeezing, flexion, finger walking, hand bicycles and anything else that involves the finger and wrist flexor muscles against resistance.
Research supports the use of exercises that
involve strengthening, lengthening, and stretching
of the extensor muscles and tendons in the
forearm. The goal is to lengthen the flexor
muscles and strengthen the extensors in order
to create better balance around the nerve.
Contact us to
learn more about a unique training system
shown to have 90 percent success in reducing
symptoms in as little as 4 weeks.