Most Rehabilitation Products, Exercise Devices
And Medical Treatments Currently Being Used For
the Treatment of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome And Repetitive
Strain Injuries Really Work?
a wide variety of treatment options available for
Carpal Tunnel Syndrome, Tennis Elbow, Tendonitis,
Trigger finger, Cubital Tunnel Syndrome and the many
other Repetitive Strain Injuries affecting the upper
extremity; but statistics show that most of these products
and treatments fall short of even a 50% success rate.
From gadgets to surgery,
to squeeze putty and cortisone injections, most all
current retail and medical therapies fall short of the
non-invasive success of FLEXTEND®.
With more than 10-years of experience, the health professionals
at BSI have established training programs, injury-specific
exercises, treatment protocols and attachment training
devices for end users, corporations, clinics and hospitals
with phenomenal success.
To date, FLEXTEND® has
less than a 4% product return rate and
more than a 90% success rate in the treatment
of most Repetitive Strain Injuries, including Carpal
Tunnel Syndrome, Cubital Tunnel Syndrome, Tennis
and Golfer's Elbow and Trigger Finger, which until
recently, was an injury that was treated with cortisone
injections and surgery only.
Musculoskeletal disorders are the country's most
costly category of workplace injuries and illnesses.
In addition to spending $20 billion annually on workers'
compensation costs due to RSIs, the U.S. spends another
$100 billion on lost productivity, employee turnover,
and other indirect expenses; The Agency for Health
Care Policy and Research .
The information listed below provides
a brief outline of the most prevalent conservative
and non-conservative treatments, their pros and
cons, and their success rates for treating both
Carpal Tunnel Syndrome and Repetitive Strain Injuries
affecting the upper extremity.
- Gripping / Flexion devices:
Activities that require additional stress to the flexor muscles will
cause them to become even stronger and more hypertonic (rigid), therefore
increasing the muscle imbalance between the flexors and extensors. Sometimes
these devices can offer short-term relief due to increased circulation,
but long-term use often leads to more pain and discomfort due to increased
damage to structures within the carpal tunnel.
The strength imbalance between the flexor and extensor muscles will remain
the same because both muscle groups are being exercised simultaneously.
(Reverse wrist curls are directed at strengthening the extensor muscles,
but you still have to contract the flexor muscles in order to grip/hold
the weight.) The outcome is still a strength imbalance and the painful
symptoms remain. Dual contraction of the flexor and extensor muscles
can actually increase the compression of the carpal tunnel and the structures
within. This compression decreases the space within the carpal tunnel,
causing friction, inflammation and damage to the flexor tendons and median
nerve as the wrist/hand is flexed and extended throughout the exercises.
- Rubber tubing and resistive exercise bands:
These bands only provide partial range of motion, only 1-3 joints used
(depending on finger position), instead of 6 joints. Rubber bands do
not allow the fingers to move throughout the full range of motion in
either flexion or extension, abduction, or wrist and elbow extension.
The combination of all of these motions being performed at once is critical
for correcting carpal tunnel syndrome, because they stretch the strong,
tight, overused flexor and adductor muscles of the hand, while strengthening
the weaker, underused extensor and abductor muscles.
Wrist braces and splints hold the wrist in the neutral position instead
of the extensor muscles which should be doing it), in order to keep the
wrist from moving into forced flexion and impinging the carpal tunnel
even more. Using a brace to keep the wrist from dropping into flexion
causes the already weak extensor muscles to become even weaker because
you do not even have to utilize these muscles to keep the wrist from
moving downward into flexion. Using these devices may provide some people
with temporary relief for the first few weeks, but long-term use of splints
and wrist braces increases the strength imbalance between the flexor
and extensor muscles, possibly causing severe damage to the tendons,
blood vessels and median nerve within the carpal tunnel.
Using wrist braces and splints at night keeps people from making a "fist" with
the wrist in a flexed forward position for 6-8 hours. Holding the wrist
in the straight/neutral position is extremely important in order to prevent
the flexor muscles from tightening down in a shortened position and impinging
the structures within the carpal tunnel.
- Wrist Splints and Anti-Inflammatories:
Failure rate is 81.6% (Including "partial success") in total alleviation
of symptoms. Curative rate following treatment is 18.4%.Source: Kaplan, et
al, 1990. J Hand Surgery.
- Iontophoresis + Splinting:
Failure rate is 42.1% in total alleviation from symptoms. Source: Banta,
et al, 1994. J Hand Surgery.
- Steroid Injection:
Failure rate is 72.6% after 1-year follow up. ( Including "partial success" as
failure) Source: Irwin, et al. J Hand Surgery.
When surgery is performed, the carpal ligament is severed in order to increase
the space within the carpal tunnel, but since ligaments do not contract,
it could not possibly cause the carpal tunnel to narrow. It is a combination
of the finger adductor muscles and the wrist and finger flexor muscles that
cause the carpal tunnel to narrow and impinge the median nerve. Patients
who have had carpal tunnel surgery often times develop the same symptoms
again because they develop scar tissue within the carpal tunnel due to improper
rehabilitation, and the fact that the real disorder was never addressed.
Also, patients will always have a weak grip strength because the carpal ligament
has been removed, and it acts as a fulcrum point in which the flexor muscles
push against for leverage in order to grasp an object or make a fist.
- Carpal tunnel surgery has about a 57% failure
rate following patients from 1-day to 6-years.
At least one of the following symptoms re-occurred
during this time: Pain, Numbness, Tingling sensations. Source:
Nancollas, et al, 1995. J Hand Surgery.
- Only 23% of all Carpal Tunnel Syndrome patients
were able to return to their previous professions
- Carpal tunnel syndrome results in the highest
number of days lost among all work related
injuries. Almost half of the carpal tunnel
cases result in 31 days or more of work loss. National
Center for Health Statistics .
- Surgery for carpal tunnel syndrome is the
second most common type of surgery.
- Approximately 260,000 carpal tunnel release
operations are performed each year, with 47%
of the cases considered to be work related. National
Center for Health Statistics .