>With the increased popularity and usage of electronic devices like computers, cell phones and play stations, it really is no wonder there has also been an increase in carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS), even in children!
Though it may be more accurately labeled as a repetitive stress injury, the correlation between the overusage of these devices without proper stretching and care, and CTS is nothing to shy away from.
Doctors say that hours of sitting in the same position using the same thumb and finger muscles over and over again is what causes muscle imbalance, leading to pain and other functional problems. Like in any activity, some exercise is good, but if you continually use the same muscle or groups of muscles without exercising their counterpart in order to maintain balance, the end results are going to be injury and pain.
While most likely a six- or seven-year-old child will not get CTS no matter how much he/she plays, they will have other injuries that can make them more susceptible to carpal tunnel in the future. As we all know, as adults we spend a lot of time texting on our cell phones, typing, sitting hunched over at our laptops, repeating other bad body mechanics. The sooner we nip this in the bud, the more pain free and efficient we will be.
So what is CTS? When the median nerve that runs down the forearm to the hand gets pressed or squeezed at the wrist from overuse, it is called carpal tunnel syndrome. This median nerve is responsible for nervous responses in the underside of the thumb and all the fingers except the little finger. It also causes impulses in the smaller muscles that controls movement in the fingers and thumb.
The carpal tunnel is a narrow passageway composed of ligaments, bones, tendons and the median nerve at the base of the hand. With CTS, these tendons become swollen and the median nerve becomes restricted, narrowing the carpal tunnel itself. Symptoms are pain, weakness and numbness that can travel all the way up the arm.
Yoga and stretching have been found to be effective in management of CTS pain. A study written up in the Journal of the American Medical Association showed yoga to be more effective than splinting in the management of CTS. Yoga is one of the most effective ways to keep the body loose, limber and free of injury and has for centuries been used as treatment for ailments involving pain.
In 1998, a research was conducted to examine the effect that a set of simple yoga poses has on the symptoms of CTS. People diagnosed with CTS were separated in two groups: Group One was to do various yoga exercises, and Group Two was to use wrist splints. At the end of the eight-week period, the group that used splints showed some improvement, but not as significant as the yoga group. The yoga group showed considerable improvement, both in grip strength and reduction of pain.
Before you decide to brace up your injury, maybe you should EMbrace the proven benefits of yoga on carpal tunnel management.
•Carpal Tunnel Syndrome Fact Sheet, NINDS. Publication date November 2002. NIH Publication No. 03-4898. Retrieved February 16, 2010 from National Institute of Neurological Disorders
•National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke
Carpal Tunnel Pain Relief through Yoga