What is it?
Carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS) is a condition that affects the hand and wrist. It occurs when the median nerve, which runs from the forearm into the hand, becomes compressed or
squeezed as it passes through a narrow passageway called the carpal tunnel. The carpal
tunnel is a narrow space in the wrist formed by bones and a thick ligament, and it contains the tendons that control finger movement.
Image A shows us the location of the carpel tunnel
In Image B we zoom in to see the large number of tissues that pass through the tunnel. Note that we are looking at the anterior surface of the forearm and wrist.
When the median nerve is compressed, it can lead to various symptoms such as pain,
numbness, tingling, or weakness in the hand and fingers. These symptoms typically affect the thumb, index finger, middle finger, and half of the ring finger. The symptoms may worsen over time and can interfere with daily activities.
How does stretching help?
Stretching does not directly create space in the carpal tunnel itself. The space within the carpal tunnel is relatively fixed anatomically.
Stretching can alleviate tension and pressure on the tendons and other structures passing through the carpal tunnel, potentially reducing the compression on the median nerve.
When the muscles in the forearm and wrist are tight or overworked, they can create increased tension on the tendons passing through the carpal tunnel. It is this pressure that can further reduce the available space within the carpal tunnel and can lead to increased pressure
within the carpal tunnel and compression of the median nerve.
Stretching exercises can also increase blood circulation to the hand and wrist area, which can promote healing, reduce inflammation, and improve overall tissue health. This may
contribute to reducing symptoms associated with carpal tunnel syndrome.
Note that addressing inflammation typically requires additional interventions such
as rest, icing, anti-inflammatory medications, or other treatments as determined by a healthcare professional.
It’s important to remember that carpal tunnel syndrome is a complex condition, and its
causes and contributing factors can vary. Consultation with a healthcare professional are crucial to determine the most appropriate treatment plan for your specific situation.
To stretch the muscles that become tendinous and pass
through the tunnel, a stretch for the anterior compartment of the forearm is most useful.
Explore leaning above each finger and moving around from side to
side also. If you locate a tight spot, pause and apply some gentle force through it.
For further advice on therapeutic stretching for this condition
contact StretchFit Studio via their website www.stretchfit.studio