Saturday 23 September 2017

Carpal Tunnel Syndrome/Repetitive Strain Injury

It's not just about what you do, it's also about what you don't do.

When you have pain it's easy to suggest that movement is the cause but  lack of movement should also be a contributing factor - movement can be the solution.

I hear this sort of thing a lot..
'My doctor says I have carpal tunnel syndrome, it's because I use a keyboard all day.'
'The doctor says  I can get an injection or, if needs be, surgery'


Carpal tunnel syndrome is becoming common in our desktop workplaces. It can occur due to the body reacting to a repetitive action. The strain causes inflammation and the body reacts by laying down scar tissue similar to the way it might create a callous to protect and area of skin that was heavily used. The medics like to call it a RSI, a repetitive strain injury. Interestingly not everyone who does a repetitive movement gets the RSI or the carpal tunnel syndrome, Why is that?

If  all you do all day is hit a keyboard it might well be that this narrow little spot at your wrist is getting overworked inflammed and congested, this will lead to tissue damage and result in pain. But hitting a keyboard is pretty light work for a great big human. If you moved the rest of your body then perhaps that work would have a balancing effect and pull that congestion out of there!

To illustarate, think of your cardiovascular system as a huge road network. If the hands are doing all the work then all the traffic is going to that one spot. The traffic carries essential services; cleanup crew, workers energy and waste disposal. They deal with blood, lymph and all associated  chemistry and inflammation. All traffic has to go through one space, the Carpal Tunnel. this Creates one small area of heavy congestion; a lot of very slow moving or standstill traffic around the entrance to that place.  Of course that area will be worn and damaged.

You can remedy the situation by reducing the workload, less cars/ less activity, or you can enlarge the space/tunnel sugically.  But really you dont need a bigger tunnel, you need a more efficient network to reduce the blockage in that space.

You need higher powered services going in and out of  there quickly, they need to be backed up by a strong and efficient external communication sytem.

Basically if all the rest of the systems. (the entire transport network) are on the line and efficient there will be no need for blockage.

To reduce the congestion of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome long term you have to work the whole line. The pecs across the front of your chest need to be stretched and strengthened; the stabilising muscles across the back of the shoulder need the same treatment. The entire upper and lower arm need to worked out regularly because they are the muscle and fasia systems pulling on those wrists  and contributing to congestion. The heart needs to pump strongly and you have to breathe well and move all day to keep everything 'on' and functional. Once you have created a superfast strong, flowing  network you only have to maintain it to keep the carpal tunnel healthy.

All of the clients I have seen who make great recoveries without medical intervention have worked on their upper body, they have done the complex opening and strengthening exercises. They remain pain free.

I know this is model is an oversimplification (it's what I do) but the message is simple.

Move more. Move lots of different bits of yourself in many imaginative ways and everything gets better.

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