Are you a musician struggling with disabling wrist and finger pain, numbness, tingling or paresthesia (pins and needles) in the thumb, index, middle or one-half of the ring finger, including swelling and / or muscle atrophy of the thenar eminence (base of thumb)? If so, you could be suffering from a severe disorder known as Carpal Tunnel Syndrome.
Carpal Tunnel Syndrome affects millions of people each year and is caused by compression
of the median nerve that begins in the cervical spine
and travels through the shoulder joint through
the Brachial Plexus (between the upper pectoral muscle and the clavicle / collar bone), down to the elbow and
through the carpal tunnel within the wrist joint. The median nerve is coexists within the carpal tunnel along side nine flexor tendons that allow flexion of the fingers and wrist as well as gripping and pincer movements. Although carpal tunnel syndrome is problematic for almost any profession;
it can be entirely disabling for musicians.
Carpal tunnel syndrome is the most widely diagnosed hand disorder that stems from excessive
overuse of the finger and wrist flexor muscles that are subjected to repetitive and/or static
(non-moving) flexion of the fingers and wrist against resistance.
This unidirectional (one direction) force causes these muscles to increase in strength and hypertonicity (tightness) and decrease in length, resulting in a muscle imbalance
in the hand and forearm. This causes the overly short, tight flexor muscles that close the hand to
compress the underlying flexor tendons and median nerve which is central to the overall function of the hand.
repetitive unidirectional motions / activities
being performed on a regular basis, the imbalanced
muscles in the hand and forearm can also cause the
carpal bones that form the carpal tunnel to become
misaligned, creating pressure and pain in the
wrist as the bones compress the median nerve
and flexor tendons within. Critically, it is not only carpal tunnel
syndrome that can result from an existing muscle
imbalance in the hand and arm, but also other
repetitive strain injuries that involve the ulnar
and radial nerves at the wrist or elbow junctions.
Thus, effective treatment must address any and all muscle
length and strength imbalances that exist
in the entire upper extremity region.
For musicians, carpal tunnel syndrome can be
a death sentence on life as they know it. Having the fingers, hand and wrist completely debilitated, musicians may have to modify posture, arm and hand position,
practice and performance routines. It is impossible
to play the piano, strum the guitar, or manipulate
the bow of a cello without being pain-free or superb dexterity and
responsiveness in the fingers and wrist. Rest
is often the first-line recommendation for treating
carpal tunnel syndrome, but it is an option that
few professionals can afford to take.
Thankfully, there are effective treatments that
can protect against the development of carpal
tunnel syndrome in musicians and that can curb
the impact of symptoms as soon as they emerge.
The strategically designed Flextend exercises target
specific muscles and groups of muscles in the
hand and forearm have been shown to reduce symptoms
of carpal tunnel syndrome with more than 95 percent effectiveness.
If anyone recommends gripping, squeezing, pinching
or finger-walking exercises, run the other direction,
as these are the exercises / movements that musicians
perform too much of in the first place and are
the muscles that are already overused on a daily
basis, the reason they are short, tight and restrictive. Musicians need to strengthen the opposite
finger and wrist extensor muscles and finger abductor muscles, the muscles that open the hand and spread the fingers apart.
It is that simple.
Keeping muscle groups with 25% strength of each
other will reduce muscle and joint imbalance,
reducing the possibility of musicians becoming
afflicted with carpal tunnel syndrome or other
finger, hand, wrist, elbow or shoulder injuries is the key to being symptom-free.
It is important to consult with a physician
or healthcare professional before beginning any
type of exercises program for the treatment of
repetitive strain injuries.
For More Information Call 1-888-274-5444 to learn more about what you
can do to safely treat carpal tunnel syndrome.