Are you experiencing discomfort, numbness, or tingling in your fingers? You may be dealing with carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS). CTS is a condition that affects the hands and can be caused by a variety of factors. While diagnosing CTS can be challenging, there are treatments available, including osteopathic medicine. In this article, we will explore how osteopathy can help those with CTS, what symptoms are caused by CTS, and what the diagnosis process looks like.
Carpal tunnel syndrome is a condition that impacts people of all ages. It occurs when the median nerve becomes compressed or squeezed within the carpal tunnel on the palm side of the wrist. The median nerve provides sensation and feeling to parts of your hand and fingers. Compressing this nerve in its passageway can cause numbness, weakness or pain in your hand.
Carpal tunnel syndrome affects about 3% to 6% of adults, and its symptoms can be from mild to severe, and they often depend on whether the nerve is compressed on just one side or both.
The carpal tunnel is an area where bones meet at the wrist. This space is called the carpal canal, and it is surrounded by ligaments and muscles. At the bottom of the carpal canal is the flexor retinaculum. Which is made up of two layers of tissue: the deep, transverse carpal ligament and the superficial palmar fascia. These long-named tissues form a protective sheath around the median nerve. When the median nerve becomes compressed, it can become inflamed and swollen. This swelling can make the nerve more vulnerable to injury. The blood vessels that supply the median nerve may also swell, further compressing the nerve.
The compression of the median nerve causes CTS. This nerve passes through an opening in the wrist called the carpal tunnel. Sometimes, fluid retention or swelling can cause this tunnel to narrow and put pressure on the median nerve. Some of the most common causes of CTS include:
In some cases, CTS may be caused by a combination of factors, rather than a single underlying cause. If you think you may have CTS, it is important to see an osteopath as soon as possible. The sooner you seek treatment for your symptoms, the more likely it is that your osteopath will be able to help.
In most cases, the pain associated with CTS worsens at night and becomes more severe as you use your hand. You may also experience numbness or tingling in your thumb and fingers. Making it difficult to hold onto things. If left untreated, CTS can lead to permanent nerve damage. This condition is often overlooked because people may simply think it is a strain. Or an injury related to repetitive hand movements (such as typing).
A few risk factors can increase your chances of developing carpal tunnel syndrome. These include:
Carpal tunnel syndrome is most common in middle-aged people but may also occur in older adults. It affects men and women equally.
Jobs or hobbies that require frequent hand and wrist movements increase the risk of carpal tunnel syndrome. These include typing, playing musical instruments, painting, sewing and other crafts and sports such as golfing or bowling (or any activity where you hold the club and swing).
Playing video games for long periods can also cause problems with hand function later on due to prolonged use of those muscles without proper rest between play sessions.
Athletes who engage in sports like tennis or baseball are more likely to develop CTS because they perform repetitive motions repeatedly throughout their game regimens (e.g., swinging racquets overhand).
Several health conditions can increase your risk of developing CTS. These include diabetes, menopause, kidney failure, rheumatoid arthritis, and hypothyroidism.
If you are experiencing any of the symptoms associated with carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS), it is important to contact your osteopath as soon as possible. An osteopath can assess your wrists and hands to determine whether you have CTS and provide a treatment plan to reduce inflammation and improve your overall condition.
Before diagnosing carpal tunnel syndrome, an osteopath will ask questions about your symptoms and medical history. They may then conduct a physical examination to evaluate your hand and wrist mobility.
Osteopaths use a combination of techniques when carrying out this physical examination, including:
Osteopathic treatment has been shown to be effective in reducing pain, swelling, and numbness in the hands. As well as improving hand mobility and blood flow. Osteopathic manipulation involves specific movements to areas of the body to reduce pain.
Osteopathic manipulation can be done in many ways, including:
Your osteopath may recommend exercises to maintain the results of your treatment. To prevent future injuries, lifestyle changes, such as stretching & regular breaks are suggested.
The number of appointments required will depend on the severity of your CTS and the results of each appointment. Some people may only need a single session to alleviate their symptoms, while others may require a series of appointments over time. The number of sessions needed can range from 3-4 to several months. This can depend on how long it takes to recover or if additional treatment is needed.
To prevent CTS, it is important to take care of your hands and wrists.
This includes taking breaks from repetitive hand movements, strengthening your fingers through exercise, and improving circulation in your wrist area.
If you already have CTS, it is important to avoid activities that require repetitive hand movements and to consider wearing a wrist splint to protect your wrists during activities that involve excessive force or strain.
If you have carpal tunnel syndrome, you must talk to your osteopath about treatment options. The best treatment is managing the symptoms and preventing the condition from worsening.
Below are some tips for managing symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome:
Here are some exercises that can help reduce the pain of carpal tunnel syndrome:
Watch the video below for a full demonstration of these stretches and tips on performing them correctly.
If you think you have Carpal Tunnel Syndrome, it is important to seek help from an experienced osteopath. They can give you exercises to strengthen your wrist and hand muscles and recommend other treatment plans, such as massage or acupuncture if needed.
In addition, they can offer guidance on the best equipment for your work and lifestyle, such as ergonomic keyboards and mice. If you have any questions about Carpal Tunnel Syndrome or the exercises mentioned in this article, don’t hesitate to contact us with your queries; we will do our best to help. You may also visit our osteopathy clinic at North Shore, Sydney.
Our North Shore Osteopaths are here to help you with your pain so you can get back to living your best life without worrying about pain.
Suite 5/132 Pacific Hwy,
Roseville NSW 2069.
In the spirit of reconciliation, MPR Health acknowledges the Traditional Custodians of country throughout Australia and their connections to land, sea and community. We pay our respect to their Elders past and present and extend that respect to all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples today.
If you want to find a registered Osteopath in the North Shore and Sydney, then you’ve found one. MPR Health provides osteopathy services to the following suburbs: