Carpal Tunnel Syndrome – A-Z of Injuries
Ceira Kinch, Osteopath
Where and What is it?
The carpal tunnel is found in the wrist and is where all of the nerves and tendons pass through a ‘tunnel’ in the wrist to get to the hand. Carpal Tunnel Syndrome is a relatively common problem. When there is pressure in the tunnel, for example from swelling, it squashes the nerves and causes pins and needles in the hand and sometimes a dull ache in the thumb and the forearm.
The people most prone to getting carpal tunnel syndrome are pregnant women, manual workers, people using computers for extensive periods of time, those with a family history or those with other conditions such as Diabetes which can predispose you to developing the condition. When patients have Carpal Tunnel Syndrome the classic phrase is ‘my fingers feel like a big bunch of bananas or like sausages first thing in the morning’. When the symptoms first appear it can often be worse at night and then progress to during the day.
That’s What I have – So…. What can I do about it?
- Desk/work set up: Seek advice from your Occupational Health Department as to the correct computer desk set-up, they can also advise on the best type of computer mouse.
- Stretches: Stretch the muscles of the forearm and hand
- Wrist Splint: Sometimes the use of a splint at night or during the day whilst at work can help ease the symptoms
- Post-pregnancy: For women who have Carpal Tunnel Syndrome occur during pregnancy it often resolves after the birth of your child but this can take up to 3 months
- Seek Advice from an Osteopath
- GP: may advise a corticosteroid injection
What can my Osteopath do to help me?
Your Osteopath can help to confirm that you are suffering from Carpal Tunnel Syndrome by performing a number of tests to incriminate the pins and needles. Once your Osteopath has confirmed the diagnosis they can set about working on the muscles of the arm, shoulder and hand to help reduce the tension on the nerves. They will also look more globally and work on your upper back or neck if they feel that the musculature is tight there or there is reduced movement coming from the spine as this can contribute to the problem.
I have done all of the above and I still have the pins and needles……
In some cases, if manual therapy and conservative methods of treatment have not worked, then the only option is Surgery to open up the tunnel and take the pressure off the nerves. However, this is often not the preferred method as it can take a long time to heal.
Contact Ceira Kinch at Teddington Osteopaths for more information.