- Understand the two causes of carpal tunnel pain so that you can help yourself REDUCE and PREVENT wrist and finger, pain and immobility. - Discover my five step solution that you can apply to any muscle in your body, so you can get back to your normal, physical activities - pain-free.
- Try the best stretch to release forearm stress and tension which means you can naturally relieve your tension and pain.
Now you can listen to me on the go. I've just released my new Playbook for Pain Relief Podcast. With new episodes Monday-Friday every week, I'm here as your therapist and coach to share my insights to help you transform your stress, tension and pain into health, happiness and vitality. **************************************************************************
Common Symptoms - Carpal tunnel syndrome
- Forearm stress, tension or pain
- Finger numbness and tingling (thumb, index, middle and 1/2 of the ring finger)
Anatomy of the Forearm
The forearm is an area that we all extensively use every day, from eating, driving, writing and typing to phone usage, exercising and mouse moving. Commonly, we have a dominant arm that is used even more than the non-dominant but that doesn't limit the above list of symptoms to strictly the dominant side. I'd say, from my clinical experience, 6/10 patients with forearm pain arise on their dominant arm.
In a previous article I share that the forearm is made up of an anterior and posterior compartment with deep and superficial muscles within each compartment. Today, we are exploring the anterior compartment.
The roof of the carpal tunnel is formed by the flexor retinaculum (a.k.a. tranverse carpal ligament) which essentially behaves like a cable tidy to house nine tendons: the flexor pollicis longus, the four flexor digitorum superficialis and the four flexor digitorum profundus, as well as the median nerve. The floor of the tunnel is formed by four carpal bones: the hamate, trapezium, trapezoid and capitate.
The Triggers of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
If you've been reading my articles to this point you'll understand how I identify the two primary causes of any injury (1) trauma and (2) slow motion injury. Trauma is the more obvious one, which relates to some kind of fall, bang or bump to the wrist compartment which causes an inflammatory response. Slow motion injury, that which gradually and surreptitiously arises over time, is usually a precursor to any trauma, and is due to our modern day posture and RSI (repetitive stress injury).
Essentially, carpal tunnel syndrome, arises because either the contents (the 9 tendons and 1 nerve) increase in size, or the tunnel reduces in size.
Examples of the contents increasing in size including edema (swelling) and tendon thickening due to RSI, or edema due to diabetes, hypothyroidism, pregnancy or rheumatoid arthritis (RA).
Examples of the tunnel reducing in size includes structural adaptations due to RA, ganglia or cysts, or bony callouses forming post-fracture.
More often than not, in true cases of carpal tunnel syndrome, there is typically a blend of the contents increasing in size coupled with the tunnel reducing in size, simultaneously.
Below are my 5-steps that I teach my patients to help improve their wrist health. Restoring Balance in 5-Steps
Move - increase your body temperature and blood flow to all your muscles.
Massage - using a partner, lacrosse ball or foam roller to agitate the muscles.
Mobilize - move the joints in their full range of motion.
STRETCH - focus on lengthening the short-tight muscles.
Corrective Exercise - focus on strengthening the long-weak muscles.
This week I'm teaching you how to perform a stretch of the forearm flexors, the tendons of which travel through the carpal tunnel.
My prescription is to perform this stretch often to help pay down your postural debt due to repetitive stress. Remember intensity is the shortcut to results. In this case, the intensity comes from the degree of stretch achieved along with the frequency of repetitions i.e. how many times per day or week that you perform. I suggest the following: MAJOR SYMPTOMS - Stretch 5+ times per day.
MINOR SYMPTOMS - Mobilize 2-3 times each day
NO SYMPTOMS - Stretch once every day!
Here are my related blog posts that you'll enjoy reading:
Yours In Muscle Health,
Jason Barlow, RMT
P: 403 589 4645
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