What is carpal tunnel syndrome and what puts you at risk of getting it.
Carpal tunnel syndrome is experienced as pressure on the median nerve which runs along the front of the forearm and into the hand through a passage way in the wrist known as the carpal tunnel. According the the mayo clinic the median nerve "provides sensation to the palm side of the thumb and fingers, except the little finger. It also provides nerve signals to move the muscles around the base of the thumb (motor function)."
Also from the Mayo clinic:
"Anything that squeezes or irritates the median nerve in the carpal tunnel space may lead to carpal tunnel syndrome. A wrist fracture can narrow the carpal tunnel and irritate the nerve, as can the swelling and inflammation caused by rheumatoid arthritis.
Many times, there is no single cause of carpal tunnel syndrome. It may be that a combination of risk factors contributes to the development of the condition."
Did you know that carpal tunnel syndrome is more common in women because the carpal tunnel is smaller in women.
Other risk factors for carpal tunnel syndrome according to the Mayo Clinic:
- Nerve-damaging conditions. Some chronic illnesses, such as diabetes, increase the risk of nerve damage, including damage to the median nerve.
- Inflammatory conditions. Rheumatoid arthritis and other conditions that have an inflammatory component can affect the lining around the tendons in the wrist and put pressure on the median nerve.
- Medications. Some studies have shown a link between carpal tunnel syndrome and the use of anastrozole (Arimidex), a drug used to treat breast cancer.
- Obesity. Being obese is a risk factor for carpal tunnel syndrome.
- Body fluid changes. Fluid retention may increase the pressure within the carpal tunnel, irritating the median nerve. This is common during pregnancy and menopause. Carpal tunnel syndrome associated with pregnancy generally gets better on its own after pregnancy.
- Other medical conditions. Certain conditions, such as menopause, thyroid disorders, kidney failure and lymphedema, may increase the chances of carpal tunnel syndrome.
- Workplace factors. Working with vibrating tools or on an assembly line that requires prolonged or repetitive flexing of the wrist may create harmful pressure on the median nerve or worsen existing nerve damage, especially if the work is done in a cold environment.
What are the symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome.
According to John Hopkin's Medicine these are common symptoms:
- Weakness when gripping objects with one or both hands
- Pain or numbness in one or both hands
- "Pins and needles" feeling in the fingers
- Swollen feeling in the fingers
- Burning or tingling in the fingers, especially the thumb and the index and middle fingers
- Pain or numbness that is worse at night, interrupting sleep
Carpal Tunnel Syndrome Stretches
If you are wondering what the best stretches for carpal tunnel are - we have a surprise for you. It's actually stretches for up high in the shoulder for muscles that regulate movement at the shoulder girdle.
At Bendable Body these are the muscle groups associated with the Thymus and Appendix organs and meridians. They also help with immune system health and detoxification.
If you are living with carpal tunnel syndrome we also have stretches that target the wrists and hands that you can add to your routine. But be sure to prioritize the thymus (upper trapezius, lateral deltoid, triceps) and appendix (biceps, latissimus dorsi, forearm flexors) meridian muscle groups that are featured in the video below.