19

Jan

Carpal tunnel

 

Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

Carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS) is a progressive affliction which may be caused by direct trauma or repetitive overuse resulting in compression of the median nerve at the wrist. The condition is three times more likely to affect women, largely due to occupational tasks such as keyboard work. Pregnancy and diabetes are also risked factors.

The carpal tunnel surrounds the median nerve and flexor muscle tendons in their tendon sheaths as they pass from the forearm to the hand. Raised pressure in the tunnel may occur as a result of irritated or inflamed tendons, leading to compression of the median nerve and causing pain, weakness or numbness in the hand which may radiate up the arm. 

Cause of injury

Sporting activities that involve repetitive flexion and extension of the wrist, e.g. cycling, throwing events, racket sports and gymnastics. Congenital predisposition. Trauma or injury including fracture or sprain. Occupational tasks.

Signs and symptoms

Burning, numbness or itching in the palm of the hand and fingers. Sensation of finger and wrist swelling. Weakness of grip. Pain that may wake the individual during the night.

Complications if left unattended

Left untreated, CTS can cause loss of sensation in some fingers and permanent weakness of the thumb as the muscles of the thumb atrophy. Heat and cold perception may also be affected in untreated CTS cases.

Immediate treatment

Cease repetitive stress activity causing the condition. Immobilization of the wrist with bandage or splint to prevent further irritation.

Rehabilitation and prevention

Halting the repetitive sport or activity and allowing for rest and rehabilitation time following diagnosis of carpal tunnel syndrome is essential. A bandage or splint may be used to stabilize the injured hand. Releasing the tension in the wrist and hand during sports and periodic exercises to retain mobility and  stiffness in the hands may help prevent the onset of CTS.

Treatments  for Carpal Tunnel Syndrome (CTS)

 Carpal Tunnel Syndrome (CTS) symptoms are lessened following massage therapy. In general, massage is believed to support healing, boost energy, reduce recovery time after an injury, ease pain, and enhance relaxation, mood, and well-being. When used for Carpal Tunnel Syndrome, massage may lead to a significant reduction in pain and symptoms, as well as improved grip strength. Massage therapy can help relieve pain from muscles in the arm or shoulder that may mimic Carpal Tunnel Syndrome.

How Can Sports Massage and Deep-Tissue Massage Help Carpal Tunnel Syndrome (CTS)?

Massage therapy eases the symptoms of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome and increases grip strength, according to a recent study. The massage routine consisted of stroking with moderate pressure from the fingertips to the elbow. Improvements lasted for at least four weeks after treatment.

 

Long-term prognosis

Recurrence of carpal tunnel syndrome following treatment is rare (except in cases of underlying disease such as diabetes). Corticosteroid injections and surgery in persistent cases. The majority of patients properly attending to the injury recover completely.

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