Are you experiencing wrist pain or numbness in the fingers and hands that worsens at night? Carpal tunnel syndrome could be to blame. It’s a painful and debilitating condition that causes hand and wrist pain due to pressure on the nerves in the wrist. Read on to learn about carpal tunnel syndrome, what causes it and how it can be managed with the help of osteopathic therapy.
The carpal tunnel
The carpal tunnel refers to the narrow part of the wrist that opens to the hand. The median nerve and flexor tendons run through the carpal tunnel, helping to give feeling and movement to our fingers and thumb. The carpal ligaments and wrist bones surround the carpal tunnel, creating a rigid boundary.
What is carpal tunnel syndrome?
Carpal tunnel syndrome is caused by the tunnel narrowing or the flexor tendons swelling with nowhere to go. This compresses the median nerve and reduces blood flow.
What are the symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome?
The most common symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome include:
- Numbness and tingling in the thumb and fingers or palm that can feel like pins and needles.
- Weakness in the muscles of the hands; difficulty gripping things.
- Swollen fingers.
- Nerve pain in your wrist or hand that can be severe.
- Pain that radiates up your arm.
What causes carpal tunnel syndrome?
Inflammation can cause the swelling that compresses the median nerve. A number of conditions can cause this and are linked to carpal tunnel syndrome, including:
- Thyroid dysfunction
- Fluid retention in pregnancy
- High blood pressure
- Rheumatoid arthritis
- Wrist fractures
The condition can be aggravated by repeated motion of the wrist when using a keyboard or mouse, using hand tools or power tools for extended periods of time or overextending the wrist when typing or playing piano.
Why is carpal tunnel syndrome common in pregnancy?
Carpal tunnel syndrome is common in pregnancy, with 3-5 out of every 10 women experiencing the condition. This is because pregnancy hormones promote fluid retention and swelling, and soften the ligaments. This causes the median nerve to be squashed in the carpal tunnel. It’s important to seek treatment to manage your symptoms, as the condition can continue after birth and be exacerbated by lifting and holding your baby in certain positions (e.g. while feeding).
How can osteopathic treatment help?
Osteopathic treatment can help to treat the symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome. As osteopaths, we will assess your symptoms and come up with an individualized care plan to reduce your symptoms and manage your pain.
Your treatment plan will depend on the symptoms you’re experiencing and may include ice therapy, gentle soft tissue massage, and joint manipulation. Exercises and stretches may be included as part of your treatment. Commonly with carpal tunnel syndrome, it is advised to take regular breaks from repetitive tasks and reduce movement of the wrists. A splint may be used to help with this.
If you fear you’re experiencing carpal tunnel syndrome, come and see us. We are here to help! We will assess your symptoms and come up with a treatment plan to help relieve the pain. Call us on (416) 546-4887 or email [email protected] to make an appointment.
- Better Health Channel (2012). Carpal tunnel syndrome. [Online]. Available at: https://www.betterhealth.vic.gov.au/health/conditionsandtreatments/carpal-tunnel-syndrome (Accessed 9 April 2022).
- Health Direct (2020). Carpal tunnel syndrome. [Online]. Available at: https://www.healthdirect.gov.au/carpal-tunnel-syndrome (Accessed 9 April 2022).
- Healthline (2019). Carpal tunnel syndrome. [Online]. Available at: https://www.healthline.com/health/carpal-tunnel-syndrome (Accessed 9 April 2022).
- OrthoInfo (2021). Carpal tunnel syndrome. [Online]. Available at: https://orthoinfo.aaos.org/en/diseases–conditions/carpal-tunnel-syndrome/ (Accessed 9 April 2022).
- The Royal Women’s Hospital. (2019). Pregnancy-Related Carpal Tunnel Syndrome. [Online]. Available at: https://www.thewomens.org.au/images/uploads/fact-sheets/Pregnancy-related-carpal-tunnel-210319.pdf (Accessed 9 April 2022).
Many of us have experienced lower back pain at some point in our lives. Whether that is after a fall, running or simply sitting down for too long most days. SIJ is short for ‘sacroiliac joint’, and SIJ pain contributes to around 15-30% of back pain. But most of us don’t know much about it, so today we are delving into SIJ pain and how we can help!
What is the SIJ?
The SI joints are located either side of the lower spine, in between your pelvis, specifically, they connect the sacrum to the iliac bones — hence the name sacroiliac! The joints themselves are pretty immobile and only allow for a few degrees of movement, BUT they serve an important purpose as shock absorbers. They also help reduce the pressure on your spine by distributing weight across your pelvis, so it’s important that your back pain is diagnosed correctly!
What causes SIJ pain?
SIJ pain or SIJ dysfunction occurs when the SI joints are inflamed and are either restricted or moving too much. If they are restricted, they may be stuck in a slight rotation from their ideal position, which can wreak havoc on your pelvis and the rest of your body. SIJ pain could be triggered from:
- Injury or trauma, such as a fall or car accident.
- Persistent impact from running or climbing stairs.
- Loose ligaments due to hormones in pregnancy.
- Abnormal walking patterns.
- Certain medical conditions such as arthritis.
- One leg being shorter than the other.
SIJ pain is typically felt in the lower back and buttocks, but can also present around the hip, groin and extend down the leg to the knee. It usually feels like a sharp, dull or a stabbing pain. In most cases, SIJ pain is typically felt on one side of the body but may present itself in both joints as well (but this is much less common).
Other common symptoms are:
- Difficulty sitting for long periods of time.
- Feeling of instability in the pelvis.
- Difficulty sleeping on the affected side of the body.
- Increased pain when walking or running.
- Pain with certain movements e.g. sitting to standing, bending, twisting.
We can help!
Sacroiliac pain is often misdiagnosed as another back injury, so we will perform a thorough examination to ensure we correctly diagnose and treat your body. This may involve checking where your pain is located, your posture, how you walk and even muscle strength.
Once correctly diagnosed, we can use a range of soft tissue massage and manipulation (if needed) to help release tight muscles and realign the pelvis. This will also be accompanied by some stretches and strengthening exercises for your glutes and core muscles.
In some instances, we may recommend a sacroiliac belt to help stabilize the area, especially when the joint is moving too much and is very painful (commonly seen in pregnant women when their ligaments begin to relax).
If you are currently experiencing SIJ pain, we recommend avoiding running and limiting movements that inflame the joints, such as lifting and jumping. Even sports such as cycling and golf may cause pain and discomfort.
Below are a couple exercises to try at home to strengthen your core and glutes:
Bridge: Lie down on the ground with your knees bent and feet on the floor. Place your palms either side of your body and slowly raise your hips. Hold for 5 seconds, then slowly lower your hips. Repeat 8-10 times.
The bird dog: Start on your hands and knees, make sure your hips and shoulders are square and you are looking towards the floor. Slowly extend one arm and the opposite leg. Hold for 5 seconds before releasing down and changing to the other arm and leg. Repeat 8-10 times.
If you think you may be suffering from SIJ or lower back pain and want to avoid experiencing it in the future then give us a call on (416) 546-4887to book your appointment!
- Dydyk, AM., Forro, SD., Hanna A. 2021. Sacroiliac Joint Injury, StatPearls, Treasure Island (FL). Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK557881/
- Yeomans, S. 2018. Sacroiliac Joint Dysfunction (SI Joint Pain). [Online]. Available from: https://www.spine-health.com/conditions/sacroiliac-joint-dysfunction/sacroiliac-joint-dysfunction-si-joint-pain [Accessed 24 Nov 2021]
- 2013. 6 Best Sacroiliac Joint Pain Exercises, and 5 to Avoid. [Online]. Available from: https://www.braceability.com/blogs/articles/sacroiliac-joint-pain-exercises [Accessed 24 Nov 2021]
- Danisa, O. 2018. Exercise for Sacroiliac Joint Pain Relief. [Online]. Available from: https://www.spine-health.com/wellness/exercise/exercise-sacroiliac-joint-pain-relief [Accessed 24 Nov 2021]
- York Morris, S. 2018. Is Your SI Joint Causing Your Lower Back Pain?. [Online]. Available from: https://www.healthline.com/health/si-joint-pain#treatment [Accessed 24 Nov 2021]
New life and the whole process of pregnancy is always such a magically and amazing feat by the human body. Sometimes there can be pain and discomfort associated with pregnancy. Many processes occur during pregnancy, hormones increase and decrease, weight is gained, and then sometimes pain can present itself. There are many areas of the body in which pain or discomfort can occur, however there are some complaints that are a little more common, which include the sacroiliac joint (SIJ) pain, thoracic pain, neck pain and even complaints of reflux or GORD.
Some of these complaints can be explained by an increase in weight from the growing baby in the womb. Posture is another factor, whereby the mother’s centre of gravity changes as a result of the growing baby, causing some of these complaints. One of the main culprits for pain and discomfort that you may experience can be related to the hormones that are stimulated. Relaxin is a hormone that occurs during pregnancy and is incredibly active during the third trimester. Relaxin is responsible for the relaxation of ligaments around the pelvis so that the child may pass through the birth canal. If our ligaments are being told to relax more, it will place more stress on our muscles and joints particular the SIJ and even the pubic symphysis causing pain.
How can Osteopathy help?
The philosophy of Osteopathy is that structure and function are interrelated and interdependent. Our treatments aim to normalise the structure so that it functions as efficiently as possible. Treatments during pregnancy are no different. We aim to assist the natural process of pregnancy and birth by aiding the body to adapt and align as the pregnancy progresses. Osteopathic treatment achieves this by using safe and efficient techniques, while making sure the mother is comfortable at all times. During birth, a range of factors influences the descent of the baby through the pelvis. The mother’s pelvis may be twisted or rigid which can interfere with the baby’s passage through the birth canal. Osteopathic treatment can help to align your body so that your pelvis and lower back mechanics are in the best possible position they can be and with as little tension or restriction as possible. Osteopathic treatment will maximise your body’s ability to change and support you and your baby with minimum pain and discomfort.
We would also prescribe some exercises to help the patient manage their pain at home based on our findings. Some of these exercises may include banded hip abduction to help strength the pelvic stabilizers, the use of a foam rolling/ tennis ball to help reduced some tension in tight muscles or other mobility exercises.
Is It Safe To Have Osteopathic Treatment During Pregnancy?
Osteopathy is safe and gentle for both the mother and the baby. The techniques used during pregnancy are carefully selected to minimise any risk. These techniques are gentle and the comfort of the mother is always taken into consideration and may be adapted to suit each patient. Some therapists use specifically designed pregnancy cushions if they need you to lie on your front for certain techniques. Pregnant patients can tell the therapist how comfortable they are in certain positions. An osteopath can accommodate any woman, regardless of size.
Can Osteopathy Help Postnatally?
Depending on the type of labour experienced, women can have a wide range of issues postnatally. Osteopathic care can help to restore and maintain normal pelvic alignment and mobility and therefore, taking away any pain and discomfort they may be feeling. If you have unresolved childbirth stresses from labour, these can contribute not only to ongoing back problems, but also to difficulties with menstruation, stress incontinence, and bowel problems such as constipation. Osteopathic treatment can also help with aches and pains associated with poor breast-feeding posture, lifting car capsules and prams, carrying your baby and bending over the cot.
It is especially important after pregnancy to work on strength and stability to help restore the body back to it’s pre pregnancy status. This is something that we can help and guide you with and help you get back to be the best parent that you can be.
If you have any questions about your pregnancy and related musculoskeletal complaints, feel free to email one of our osteopathic manual practitioners:
Brendan ([email protected]) or
Daniel ([email protected])
Or call us at (416) 546-4887