Cumulative Trauma Disorder (CTD) / Repetitive Motion Syndrome / Tendonitis
Do you spend your days typing or performing other repetitive motions? If so, then you may be at risk of acquiring carpal tunnel syndrome. This is especially true if you are a woman, because the hormonal changes associated with menstruation, pregnancy, and menopause are linked to the onset of carpal tunnel syndrome.
Although people afflicted with CTS appear to have normal use of their hands, they are, in fact, usually experiencing great pain and restricted movement. The primary symptoms of CTS include:
- Numbness in the fingers and palm, similar to restricted circulation in the hand or “falling asleep”
- Burning and tingling sensations in the hands
- Difficulty gripping or making a fist
- Reduced sensitivity to temperature.
What Causes CTS?
The carpal tunnel is a passageway between the wrist and hand through which the median nerve passes. This nerve controls sensations to the hand, particularly the palm and inner fingers (thumb, first, and middle fingers). The carpal tunnel passageway is lined with ligaments. When the median nerve gets pinched or squeezed at the wrist due to irritation of the tendons caused by overuse, carpal tunnel syndrome may result. Since not everyone who engages in repetitive motion of the hands and wrists contracts CTS, it is believed that a combination of factors are involved, including predisposition due to a physically smaller carpal tunnel, as well as hormonal influences.
Treatments for CTS
Treatment will depend on the cause in of each particular case. If repetitive movement caused your condition, for example, then you need to avoid the activity, or at least limit it if avoidance is not possible, until the symptoms subside. Here are some ideas to help reduce the effects of CTS:
- Give your hands and wrists a break. Stop repeating the same motion or change positions when performing them.
- Take frequent breaks from the stressful motion to stretch and shake out your hands and wrists. Give yourself a quick wrist massage. Do not underestimate what this type of stimulation can do to combat CTS.
- Take B vitamins for a healthy nervous system.
- Increase the antiinflammatories in your diet, including tumeric, cayenne, curry, green tea, and vitamins C and E.
- Try acupuncture and yoga exercises.
Since CTS is an irritation or inflammation of the tendons in the carpal tunnel, a regimen of antiinflammatory herbs may relieve the symptoms. Some excellent antiinflammatories include:
- Vitamins C and E
- Curry, cumin, tumeric, cinnamon
- White willow bark (precursor to aspirin)
- Yarrow Root
- Aloe vera