Causes Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
Tunnel Syndrome Symptoms
Tunnel Syndrome Treatments
Tunnel Syndrome Exercises
Tunnel Syndrome Surgery
Tunnel Syndrome Prevention
Tunnel Syndrome In Musicians
Of Tennis Elbow
are a number of treatments that are currently
being used to treat Repetitive Strain Injuries
like Carpal Tunnel Syndrome, but all of the techniques
that are currently being used fall short
of what the healthcare industry should consider as a "successful" treatment.
The best solutions to be considered should combine
frequent breaks, job rotation when possible and a good
stretching program followed by the use of FLEXTEND® exercises .
Preventative stretching and the implementation of FLEXTEND®
exercises to correct the muscle strength and length
imbalance that often exist between the flexor and
extensor muscles of the hand and forearm.
Studies have shown
that productivity decreases, disability claims
and lost time from work are reduced dramatically
for individuals who implement an effective stretch
and exercise program into their daily regimen of
activities. The term "effective" is emphasized because
most ergonomic programs and products are not specifically
designed to address the actual causes of Carpal
Tunnel Syndrome or other forms of Repetitive
Strain Injuries. Many of these programs and products
simply mask symptoms rather than eliminating them.
Here is a list of
the current treatments, both conservative and radical
in nature, which are being used for the prevention
and rehabilitation of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome and
Repetitive Strain injuries:
TREATMENTS FOR CARPAL TUNNEL SYNDROME & REPETITIVE STRAIN
- Squeezing and Gripping
Devices: These products tout themselves
as the cure-all for Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
and Repetitive Strain Injuries, but they exercise
and strengthen the flexor muscle group that
is already overdeveloped from performing repetitive
activities that require "closing" of
the hand. (i.e. Typing, texting, driving, writing,
Using gripping and squeezing devices
duplicate the exact same motion that caused
the muscle imbalance, and will only continue
to increase the strength and rigidity of the
flexor muscles; exacerbating the injury even
further. This is why so many people that go
to therapy come out worse, therefore resorting
Therapy is only effective if the
appropriate exercises and stretches are utilized.
In most cases, patients report using squeeze
balls, gripping devices, riding hand bicycles
and performing finger-walking exericses....all
to the existing muscle imbalance.
have their patients / clients perform stretches
to the flexor group to lengthen them, which in
turn will reduce the compression of the median
nerve within the carpal tunnel and following
up with extension and finger abduction exercises
to shorten and tighten the extensor group which
help hold the carpal tunnel open as well as help
hold the length of the flexor muscles that was
created by stretching them. When you lengthen
one muscle group, the opposing (antagonist) muscle
group must be shortened to help hold the length
created during the stretch.)
- Wrist Braces and Splints: Wrist
braces and splints are not effective in treating
carpal tunnel syndrome and repetitive strain
injuries, but can assist if worn during night-time
only. These devices are meant to keep the wrist
from dropping into flexion so that the wrist
stays in the straight, neutral position in order
to reduce impingement of the carpal tunnel. But
instead, wrist braces often increase the symptoms
of carpal tunnel syndrome and repetitive strain
injuries, especially if worn during the daytime.
- Daytime use:
Wrist braces are NOT GOOD to wear while performing daily activities
because they hold your own wrist up for you instead of the extensor muscles
having to do it. Since the wrist brace is doing all the work in order
to hold the wrist in the straight, neutral position, then the extensor
muscles atrophy and become even weaker than they already were, and the
muscle imbalance between the flexors and extensor becomes even greater.
Another major problem is that even though the wrist is still held straight,
you can still use your fingers to perform repetitive or static flexion,
such as typing, writing, etc., which again, will contribute to the muscle
imbalance even more.
- Night-time use:
Wrist braces and splints are MORE APPROPRIATE for night use in
order to keep the wrist in the straight, neutral position. This is a
key factor, because most people make a "fist" or "curl" their wrist into
flexion while they sleep. Sleeping with the hands in this position causes
the flexor muscle group to become even tighter and shorter; causing further
impingement and damage to the carpal tunnel.
It is good to have the flexor muscles massaged and stretched-out, but unless
followed immediately with strengthening exercises for the extensor muscles
that extend the fingers, elbow and wrist, and the abductor muscles of the fingers,
it will have little effect on correcting the muscle imbalance that causes carpal
tunnel syndrome and repetitive strain injuries. Massaging and stretching the
stronger, shorter and tighter flexor muscles will only result in temporary
relief because the longer and weaker extensor muscles have not been shortened
and strengthened through extension exercises which will ultimately hold the
stretching and lengthening of the flexor muscles in place.
If your flexor muscles that close your hand
are 6-inches long on one side and they are
normally 8-inches,( but they've shortened in
their relaxation state from overuse), and your
extensor muscles on the back-side of the hand
and forearm are10-inces long and they are normally
8-inches, but they have lengthened because
of no direct stimulus through exercise and
movement), than a muscle imbalance has been
created. Now if you stretch the flexor muscles
which were 6-inches to the point where they
are now the normal 8-inches long that they
should be, and the extensor muscle have not
been strengthened so they remain 10-inches
long, the flexor muscles will just tighten
right back to their original position because
there is nothing to hold them in their stretched position. Now, if the 6-inch
flexor muscles were stretched to where they were 8-inches long, and the extensor
muscles were strengthened and shortened to where they are 8-inches instead
of the 10-inches they had been, than you now
have equal pull on both sides of the joint.
Both muscle groups are now 8-inches long, and
the extensor muscles can now provide enough
counteractive support to keep the stronger,
tighter flexor muscles from narrowing the carpal
tunnel and impinging the structures within.
- Physical Therapy: This
can be a good choice of therapy if you choose
someone that knows what they are doing. Too often
therapists are caught assigning suffers of
carpal tunnel to performing hand-bike exercises
along with finger walking, and gripping exercises,
thinking that if they strengthen the "apparently"
weak flexor muscles the condition will go away.
This is the same for massage therapists, chiropractors
and occupational therapists. The weak grip is
either due to pain inhibiting the grip or median
nerve dysfunction. The exercises listed will
only contribute and worsen the condition as the
therapist is duplicating the exact same motions
that caused the disorder to occur. Too many health
professionals these days although supposedly
schooled in biomechanics and muscle function
have a poor grasp on basic body mechanics and
- Occupational Therapy: OT's
are most known for assisting those with occupational
disorders and illnesses, those who have been severely
damaged physically and or mentally. Their basic
function is to assist individuals in
daily living procedures. For this reason, it is
a huge mystery for many how or why OT's became
known as hand therapists that treated musculoskeletal
disorders. That is what physical therapists do
and should fall under their scope of practice
since PT's have a much greater working knowledge
of muscles and bio mechanics.
- Chiropractic: This
mode of therapy can be beneficial if kept in
perspective. Chiropractors move bones back into
their correct alignment, which is necessary for
proper pain-free function. But, MUSCLES MOVE
BONES, not the other way around. If the musculoskeletal
imbalance is addressed, the bones maintain their
alignment as there is equal contractile and tensile
pressure surrounding the joint, therefore maintaining
that joints alignment. It is fine to have an
adjustment or series of corrections and then
maintain the proper alignment through stretches
Ultrasound is ok if used in conjunction with a treatment program that includes
soft-tissue work, stretching of the flexor muscle group, and the strengthening
of the extensor muscle group. Ultrasound can help reduce inflammation in
an acute case of tendonitis, carpal tunnel syndrome, or other form of injury,
but does no good when used alone.
EXTENSION EXERCISES ARE THE KEYSTONE
TO RECOVERY. There are a number
of extension exercise devices on the market
that ALMOST provide the correct motion
in order to treat the dysfunction of Carpal
Tunnel Syndrome and Repetitive Strain Injuries.
But they all fail in providing the correct
bio-mechanical hand, wrist and elbow movements,
and varied resistance levels, that will
result in the successful treatment of these
This is because the extension exercise
devices on the market:
- Do not allow a complete
range of motion of the fingers, wrist
and elbow joints from flexion into
full extension, and full abduction
(splaying) of the fingers, which is
absolutely critical in effectively
rehabilitating carpal tunnel syndrome
and repetitive strain injuries.
- Provide finger extension
of only 1-5 of the digits, and with most
of the emphasis on the Metaphalangeal
joint (most proximal finger joint).
This means that there is only one joint
being exercised, while the others stay
stiff and are only affected by isometric,
- Provide only wrist
extension without finger extension
and finger abduction!
- Do not include
finger, wrist and elbow extension,
along with full abduction (splaying)
of the fingers, all in one exercise
motion, without any type of gripping
or squeezing action required.
IT IS THIS
COMBINATION OF MOVEMENTS
TOGETHER THAT CORRECTS THE MUSCLE IMBALANCE
AND ALLEVIATES SYMPTOMS
ASSOCIATED WITH CARPAL TUNNEL SYNDROME
AND REPETITIVE STRAIN INJURIES!
IS ONLY ONE PRODUCT ON THE MARKET THAT MEETS
ALL OF THESE REQUIREMENTS: FLEXTEND.
TREATMENTS FOR CARPAL TUNNEL SYNDROME & REPETITIVE
- Wrist Splints and Anti-Inflammatory
This approach to treating carpal tunnel syndrome and repetitive strain injuries
has a very poor success rate. The FAILURE RATE for total alleviation of all
symptoms is about 82.6%.
- Iontophoresis and Splinting:
This procedure is also very ineffective and reveals that only 11 subjects
out of 19 experienced relief.
The FAILURE RATE for total alleviation after a one-year follow-up is about
75.6% of all patients.
The average failure rate, which is very conservative, is 57% after following
the patient from 1-day to 6-years. At least one of the following symptoms
re-occurred during this time; pain, numbness, and tingling sensations.
After 6-years, the onset of at least one of these symptoms can reach higher
than 90%. Most of these individuals will have surgery more than once, and
patients have been known to have as many as 5-8 surgeries on just one hand!