Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

Posted on March 11, 2019 by

Carpal Tunnel Syndrome (CTS) is a chronic condition in the wrist area that can affect the arm and hands. An individual with CTS may experience numbness, tingling, and weakness  in the affected hand. CTS is caused by the compression of the median nerve due to inflammation which runs through “carpal tunnel”. The carpal tunnel consists of the carpal bones (wrist bones) which create the base of the “tunnel” and the transverse carpal ligament that creates the roof.

Compression of the median nerve can be caused by many different aspects, most commonly due to the overuse of the wrist in an overextended position. Many individuals spend most of their time typing on the computer either due to work or gaming, the position the wrist is in when typing is in this overextended position and are more at risk for CTS. It is important to take notice of your hand position and make  sure there aren’t long periods of time in the overextended position. If you are in this position due typing, ergonomic keyboards or rests for your wrist can help with the positioning.

 

Maintaining Good Posture

There are many ways to maintain a good posture and avoid the experience of back pain.

  1. Pay attention to your standing and sitting posture throughout the day.
  2. If you are sitting for long periods of time, stand up and move around every 30 minutes to an hour.
  3. A rolled towel can be used to maintain the normal lumbar curve while sitting.
  4. Doing physical activity regularly can help build strong abdominal and back muscles.
  5. Aquatic exercises can help with your strength, posture, and balance.
  6. Phones or books should be held at eye level.
  7. Make sure your shoes are comfortable and supportive.
  8. Consider placing a small pillow under your neck and a rolled towel at your lower back when you sleep.

Plantar Fasciitis

The plantar fascia helps support the arch of your foot. It is a thick band of tissue located at the bottom of the foot and connects your heel bone to your toes. Plantar fasciitis is when the plantar fascia becomes weak, swollen, and inflamed. Pain usually occurs with your first steps in the morning when you get out of bed or after sitting for a long time. Then the stiffness and pain decreases as you move more, however the pain may come back after long periods of standing.

People who walk, stand, or run for long periods of time are more likely to have plantar fasciitis. People who have high arches, flat feet, or tight Achilles tendons or calf muscles may experience plantar fasciitis. Overall, it is important to wear well fitted shoes and shoes that are not worn out.

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Heartburn vs heart attack

Someone who has gastroesophageal reflux disease (acid reflux) can experience heartburn. A painful burning occurs behind the breastbone and you may feel pain that goes up toward your throat. When you lie down or bend over, the pain will get worse. You may have the feeling that food is entering back into your mouth. These symptoms usually occur after you finish a large or spicy meal.

Angina (when there is not enough blood flowing to your heart) can cause pain in your chest. Angina or a heart attack can cause tightness, squeezing, pressure, or dull pain in the middle of the chest. The pain can radiate to your neck, shoulders, or arms. Moreover, you may have trouble breathing, have an irregular heartbeat, or feel lightheaded, weak, or dizzy. Extreme stress or physical activity can lead to these symptoms.

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High-Arched Foot

A high-arched foot can cause someone to have too much weight on the ball and heel of the foot when he or she is walking or standing. The heel of the foot is tilted inward and leads to an unstable foot. Therefore, a high-arched foot can increase the risk of getting an ankle sprain.

One may experience symptoms, such as pain when standing or walking and on the ball, side or heel of the foot one may find calluses. Also, hammertoes (bent toes) or claw toes (toes clenched like a fist) may be present. In some cases, one may drag his or her foot when he or she takes a step due to the weak muscles of the foot and ankle. This is known as foot drop. Therefore, custom orthotics can be used to help treat a high-arched foot because it gives us stability and acts as a cushion for the foot.

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Flat feet

Flat feet (pes planus) is usually a painless condition in which the arches of your feet are flattened and when you are standing the entire soles of your feet touches the floor. Flat feet can change the alignment of your legs and can lead to knee and ankle problems. Infants and toddlers have flat feet since the arches of their feet have not yet developed. As they get older, the arches will develop. However, some people’s arches never develop and this would lead to flat feet. A foot or an ankle injury, aging, rheumatoid arthritis and obesity can all increase your risk of flat feet. One may experience pain in the heel or arch area of the foot and the pain may get worse with activity. Orthotics or supportive shoes can help reduce symptoms and make your feet feel more comfortable.

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Cardiovascular Health

It is extremely important to maintain and improve your cardiovascular health. Doing a minimum of 150 minutes per week of moderate exercise or performing vigorous exercise for 75 minutes per week can improve your cardiovascular health. Being physically active five times a week and for at least 30 minutes a day can be a huge benefit for your heart.  Jogging, walking, swimming or biking are examples of physical activities that are excellent for your heart.

Smoking, a diet low in fruits and vegetables, an unhealthy weight and getting less than 7-9 hours of sleep each night can affect your cardiovascular health and may lead to cardiovascular disease. It is important to visit your healthcare provider if you are at risk of cardiovascular disease. Therefore, a healthy lifestyle can lead to better health.

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High- and Low-Impact Activities

We can avoid and manage musculoskeletal injuries by being physically active. For instance, we can participate in  high- and low-impact activities.

High-impact activities are more intense and use more energy. They can strengthen our heart and lungs, help burn more calories, improve bone density, and improve our stability, balance, and coordination. However, there is a greater chance of getting the ankle, knee, hip, or back injured if an individual is not prepared. Therefore, it is important to warm up first before beginning any high-impact exercises. Examples of high-impact exercises include jumping rope, plyometric exercises, running, and jogging.

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Low-impact exercises are less intense and less jarring on our body and joints. Beginners, people who have arthritis or osteoporosis, older adults, and people with bone, joint, or connective tissue injuries should do low-impact exercises. For example, working out on an elliptical machine, walking, cycling, swimming, and dancing.

Chronic Inflammation

When we have a sore throat, a sun burn or sinusitis the process of acute inflammation occurs. White blood cells come in and then anti-inflammatory compounds will take over to start the healing process. Sometimes the activation of inflammatory molecules does not stop and this is known as chronic inflammation. It can be caused by environmental factors and it means that there is an issue with removing whatever caused the acute inflammation. Asthma and arthritis are examples of conditions that can result from chronic inflammation. Moreover,  pain and chronic inflammation can occur if biomechanical issues, trauma or injury are left untreated.

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There are a few ways to reduce chronic inflammation, such as staying away from foods that are high in saturated fats, trans fats and foods with a high glycemic index. Fruits and vegetables, nuts, beans and whole grains act as a natural anti-inflammatory and should be included in our diet. People who exercise regularly can heal faster from injuries and are less likely to have chronic inflammation. In addition, inflammation may be decreased with sufficient amount of sleep and by drinking water. Lastly, smoking should be avoided since it increases the level of inflammatory markers.

Soft Tissue Therapy

Poor posture, traumatic injury, strain, or sprain can cause our muscles, ligaments, and tendons to have abnormal tension. This can cause pain, tenderness, and/or movement dysfunctions. Soft tissue therapies are a type of therapy where soft tissues, such as muscles, ligaments, and tendons are pressed and kneaded with the hand or a mechanical device. This can be performed by chiropractors, occupational therapists, physical therapists, or massage therapists. Soft tissue therapy can help relieve pain and inflammation, reduce stiffness and movement dysfunction, reduce spasm, and increase the range of motion of the injured area. Moreover, it can improve circulation by increasing the local blood flow. It can also assist with tissue healing, fix abnormal postures, and help avoid further injury. Overall, soft tissue therapy can help with your pain and musculoskeletal health.

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