Carpal Tunnel Syndrome (CTS)

Office worker poor wrist support can suffer RSIPicture of a hand dont suffer from RSI on your hands and wristCloseup of female eye

Carpal Tunnel Syndrome (CTS) is the most commonly recognized of all the repetitive strain injuries (RSI). It seems that everywhere you go, you find someone wearing a wrist brace: grocery store clerks, computer users, meat processors, laboratory technicians, dental hygienists, hair dressers, house painters, carpenters. It’s everywhere!

So, what do computer users, meat processors, house painters and the others all have in common? They all use the same part of their anatomy in performing their daily activities. Muscles called the flexor muscles are located on the inside of the forearm (palm side) and are implicated in almost all cases of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome.

Carpal Tunnel Syndrome is caused by a compression of the median nerve. The median nerve is one of three main nerves that bring feeling to the arm and hand. When that nerve is compressed, it brings numbness and tingling to the area it serves. In addition to the median nerve being affected, the muscles that form the pathway for the median nerve are also implicated in every case of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome. Ignoring the condition of these muscles will lead to disappointing results when trying to recover from CTS.

Typical symptoms of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome include aching or pain in the wrist, numbness and tingling of the thumb, the index and middle finger, and often part of the ring finger. Many people complain of numbness that wakes them in the middle of the night. Others feel numbness when doing anything that requires bringing the fingers together in a pinching motion like grasping a tool or paintbrush. Lots of people report that pens and pencils simply slip out of their grasp. Others experience burn injuries and other trauma to their hands because the numbness keeps them from feeling pain when accidents occur.

Loss of strength is another very troubling symptom of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome. Many people hesitate to pick up their infant children for fear of dropping them. Simple tasks like pouring juice from a half gallon carton can be almost impossible for those so seriously affected. Even turning a key in the car door can be especially challenging. And, forget about pumping your own gas! Squeezing the pump handle can be really difficult.

Without realizing it, almost all people who suffer from Carpal Tunnel Syndrome also have a significant amount of tissue change and muscle adhesions higher up along the median nerve pathway, especially through the shoulders and armpits. One sign that this is a part of your injury is an inability to raise arms completely overhead (so that your upper arms reach all the way up next to your ears) without causing numbness, tingling, or muscle pain.

Often, muscles and connective tissues are so stuck, they impede the full range of motion of the arms. Tissue adhered through the armpits is often the culprit here.

Loss of range of motion is also often caused by the shoulder blades becoming stuck, preventing the normal full motion of the shoulders and arms without strain to the whole upper body complex.

Adhesions of this nature will create areas that tug on injured nerves as the sufferer moves shoulders and arms, contributing to further strain and irritation for the over stimulated and injured median nerve.

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