Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
Carpal Tunnel Syndrome is a worrying condition that causes pain in the wrist and hand, often with numbness, pins and needles, tingling, swelling, stiffness, burning and weakness in the hand and fingers. The carpal tunnel is a space within the wrist bones and ligaments where blood vessels, nerves and tendons pass through the wrist to the hand. The problem is when for a number of reasons the space within the 'tunnel' is reduced by inflamed tissue which in turn restricts the movement of and circulation within these structures. Around the wrist there is a natural thickening of the layer of connective tissue which surrounds the whole body a bit like a body stocking. If the fascia in this natural wrist band should get tight and restricted this will also tighten up on and reduce the space inside the carpal tunnel.
The nerves, blood vessels and tendons in the carpal tunnel can get inflamed when the issue is actually further up the arm, at what is called the Thoracic Outlet, the area to the side of the neck and under the collar bone where most of the nerves and blood vessels originate. Nerve impingement that occurs here can cause numbness and tingling in the arm and hand. And if the blood vessels are impinged here, return flow from the hand is what causes swelling in the wrist. So rather than the problem being the tunnel getting smaller, the problem is that the structures within the tunnel now need more room. If one has bad posture, with the neck jutting forward and/or the shoulders hunched, or if one is often in this position eg sitting at a computer terminal, ironing, driving, or doing anything with your hands in front of you for long periods of time, this can create tension and fascial tightness and restriction in this area of the neck and the side of the upper chest/front of the shoulder. This in turn compromises the nerves and blood vessels all the way down the arm to where they are naturally impinged by space, in the carpal tunnel. Tendons are the fibrous parts of muscles where the tissue comes together to attach to bone, and these can get inflamed by trigger points in the muscle, in this case further up the forearm. These too need to be addressed and Joanna can do this with trigger point therapy and myofascial release.
So sometimes myofascial release to the fascia around the wrist is required, nearly always accompanied by release to the tissues of the neck, shoulder, and forearm.
Surgery can be helpful to some people, but others have come to me afterwards with the same or enhanced symptoms because the surgery actually created more restrictions to the wrist in the form of scar tissue which has exacerbated the initial problem. Perhaps their problem was in the neck and shoulders all along, which local surgery will not have addressed.
If you are contemplating surgery for Carpal Tunnel Syndrome, or specifically want to avoid it, come for a few sessions and see for yourself if a more natural, non-invasive solution can be found. Joanna will also give you stretches to help keep you pain and symptom free.
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