Osteopathy for Wrist and Hand Pain Surrey
Hand and Wrist pain can occur in many situations, some of which you may expect, e.g. falling onto an outstretched hand to less thought of things, like misusing a computer mouse. We use our hands so frequently in day to day life, and we take them for granted. While we aim to protect them from injury, it can be outside our control.
Such injuries can lead to stubborn pain that lasts a long time. Osteopathy can help deal with this pain effectively.
Let’s have a look at some wrist and hand injuries that can happen to anyone.
Carpal Tunnel Syndrome is a result of overwhelming pressure on the median nerve. The median nerve at the wrist is responsible for movements of all the fingers and the thumb except for the little finger. The median nerve pathway is from the neck to the fingers but is most commonly damaged at the wrist. The Carpal Tunnel is an area in the wrist just above the palm of the hand. It is formed by the wrist and has nerves, blood vessels and tendons running through it.
When pressure builds up in the carpal tunnel, the Median nerve is often affected. This results in pain in your hand. It is often accompanied or preceded by your fingers starting to feel numb, especially during the night. This usually happens due to the position of your hand while you sleep and the pressure it experiences. When you wake, you’re likely to feel a tingling sensation, sometimes that can run all the way to the shoulder.
Some other common symptoms of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome are:
- Burning and itching feeling in the hand, especially in the palm, thumb, and index and middle fingers.
- Loss of strength, accompanied by trouble holding onto things.
- Tingling feeling that spreads to the arm.
- When you try to move your fingers, it might feel like they were electrocuted.
During the beginning, shaking out your hands vigorously will help ease the pain. However, this will not work after some time. Over time if carpal tunnel syndrome goes untreated, you will experience a weaker grip than before. This is because your hand muscles start contracting, leading to intense pain and cramps.
Carpal Tunnel Syndrome causes irritation and stress to the median nerve, which begins to restrict nerve impulses, leading to loss of feeling in the fingers and failure to coordinate. Furthermore, it will affect the thumb’s ability to pinch easily.
Carpal Tunnel Syndrome is usually caused by activities that put continuous pressure on the hand. These include typing, writing, and movement that you have to perform frequently. Conditions like pregnancy, hypothyroidism, diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, and obesity have been associated with Carpal Tunnel Syndrome.
If caught early enough, your Osteopath will often be able to help prevent the condition from deteriorating and help remedy it with the use of both hands-on treatment and an exercise program. Otherwise, when it becomes more severe, surgery may be required. Post-surgery, your Osteopathy can help with restoring movement and working on the scar tissue.
Repetitive strain injury, also known as work-related upper limb disorder, and non-specific upper limb pain, occurs due to constant and incorrect use of the muscles. This leads to pain in the muscles, tendons, and nerves of the affected area.
RSI usually impacts upper-body parts like the neck, shoulder, wrist, hand, forearms, and elbows. People who lift heavy objects, or have a job that requires them to use the computer for typing, are prone to repetitive strain injury. Furthermore, when a body part is regularly overworked without sufficient rest between activities, it can lead to RSI.
Repetitive strain injury expresses itself in the body part with symptoms like throbbing pain, numbness, tingling, weakness, stiffness, tenderness, and cramping.
Initially, when you experience repetitive strain injury, you will find that the symptoms are only felt while carrying out a particular action. However, if it’s left untreated for a long time, then the pain will get worse. Without proper medical attention, RSI can lead to swelling and persistent pain over a long period of time. This can last for months on end.
If you’re experiencing the symptoms mentioned above, then it’s advisable to contact your primary healthcare professional as soon as possible. Over the counter pain-killers, taking proper rest, exercising, stretching out your limbs to prevent the collection of stress are some measures that can help you deal with repetitive strain injury.
Osteopathy treats RSI by analysing the overall health of all the adjoining muscles of the affected body part, in conjunction with your overall build and lifestyle. This helps the Osteopath devise a treatment plan that addresses your problem with precision. The treatment can include exercises, massage to soft tissue, stretching, joint mobilisation and adjuncts to help with the pain.
The wrist consists of eight small bones, which are held in place by ligaments. This allows the wrist to move and function the way it does. The ligaments are prone to tears, which further pushes the carpal bones together, followed by dislocation.
Wrist instability is most commonly a result of traumatic wrist injuries like carpal tunnel syndrome, lunate, perilunate dislocations, and carpal dislocations,
Lunate Subluxation type of dislocations that cause wrist instability.
This takes place when the lunate bone in the wrist gets partially displaced. This is normally in an anterior direction (towards the palm rather than the back of the hand). It most commonly occurs with a fall onto an outstretched hand, but can also arise from incorrect repeated use of a keyboard.
It can be repositioned by your Osteopath using soft tissue manipulation and joint mobilisation. It is important that this is distinguished from a Lunate dislocation that is likely to require surgery.
After any surgery, physical therapy is required to restore the full function of the wrist. Osteopathy allows patients to do that with the help of gentle exercises, stretches, and adjuncts to regain their wrist movement.
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