GUEST BLOG – Carpel tunnel advice!
Some of our clients suffer from sore wrists and so we asked Katie Marshall from My Body Balance who is a qualified physiotherapist and pilates instructor for some expert advice.
I have Carpel Tunnel – how can I still do burpees, press ups, planks etc. without aggravating it further?
Answer: Carpel tunnel syndrome is compression of the median nerve as it travels through the wrist at the carpel tunnel resulting in pain, numbness, tingling in the thumb, index finger, middle finger and thumb side of ring finger. The symptoms are generally worse at night.
Compression of the nerve can be due to a number of different factors; bone abnormalities, joint stiffness , obesity, hypothyroidism, arthritis, diabetes, pregnancy and very often repetitive movements (work or sport related) that cause overextension of the median nerve and wrist.When working out, maintaining a neutral wrist will significantly reduce the pressure on the median nerve. If you struggle to do this it may be due to weakness at the wrist which can be addressed by wrist strengthening exercises with a theraband or wearing a wrist splint. A more common cause is weakness at the upper body and arm resulting in increased load taken by the wrist. Strengthening these areas will help offload the wrist. In the mean time doing exercises on your forearms to reduce load at the wrist will help.
Other treatment generally includes night splints, physiotherapy, lifestyle and ergonomic modification, corticosteroids,surgery and excluding other potential causes such as a C7-8 radiculopathy. In line with this working on other areas that can impact on median nerve glide such as the neck, thoracic outlet, neck muscles and forearm muscles is important incase there is a double crush of the median nerve.
Are there any exercises I can do to strengthen my wrist?
As I mentioned above, carple tunnel is not usually the result of a wrist weakness however wrist strengthening exercises using a theraband can be carried out.
Reducing load on the median nerve by improving strength, posture and control of the neck, upper back shoulder blade and upper limb areas will help offload the wrist and therefore the carple tunnel and median nerve.
Stretching out muscles that could be reducing median nerve glide in the neck or upper arm may also be advisable.
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