Musculoskeletal Disorders and How To Prevent Them

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  1. Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

Carpal tunnel syndrome occurs when the median nerve is compressed as it passes through the carpal tunnel. The typical distribution of the numbness is on the palm side of the thumb, pointer finger, middle finger, and half of the ring finger. (See picture below)

 

The most common cause of carpal tunnel syndrome is an overuse/repetitive motion injury. The forearm muscles get larger and the tendons of those muscles get larger as it goes through the carpal tunnel. This can cause increased friction and less space for the median nerve. This can cause decreased sensation of the nerve, leading to tingling and numbness in the hands.

 

  1. Elbow & Shoulder Conditions

There are a lot of conditions that involve the shoulder and elbow that can contribute to tingling and numbness in the hands. If you have ever hit the inside of your elbow (funny bone) you know the distribution patter of the ulnar nerve.

 

  1. Thoracic Outlet Syndrome

Thoracic outlet syndrome occurs when the blood vessels and/or nerves in the thoracic outlet become compressed. The thoracic outlet is the area between your clavicle (collar bone) and first rib. The veins, arteries, and nerves that go to your arm all pass through this area. If the space in this area becomes narrow, it can place pressure on the blood vessels and nerves, which can cause pain, numbness, and poor circulation in the arm and hand.

 

  1. Cervical (Neck) Conditions

There are many neck conditions that can cause tingling and numbness in the hands. They vary from bone conditions to muscular conditions.

    • Muscular Tightness – Muscles can impinge on the nerves themselves as well as cause inflammation leading to tingling and numbness in the hands.

      5. Swelling Due To Pregnancy Or Heart Conditions

      Not all tingling and numbness is due to a nerve condition. It can also be due to compression of blood vessels. Certain heart conditions can lead to swelling which can cause compression of both blood vessels and nerves. Pregnancy also leads to swelling at the end and can lead to tingling and numbness in the hands.

      How Do I Fix It/Prevent It?

  1. Limit repetitive motion exercises such as typing. I know that this may not be possible due to job duties and such. In these cases I would recommend frequent stretching and some exercises that counter the effect of the repetitive motion.
  2. Chiropractic adjustments of course! Chiropractors have the unique ability to assess and correct any bony mis-alignments (subluxations). Some Chiropractors (like myself) also incorporate myofascial release and trigger point therapy to loosen tight musculature and reduce inflammation.
  3. Stay active and perform activities that allow a full range of motion of your joints. Stretching and yoga can also be beneficial in helping to stay loose and balanced.
  4. Unfortunately, some conditions may become bad enough that they require surgery. We hope to prevent it from getting that bad.
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