Carpal Tunnel Prevention

Written by: Kayte Corrigan

The wrist is one of the most delicate joints, and at the same time, one of the most useful. Often in the shadows of our opposable thumb, the wrist is an integral part of human dexterity. Long-term ailments may take years to develop, but very difficult or impossible to reverse. Even if you are not currently in pain, practicing prevention could make all the difference.

Carpal Tunnel Syndrome (CTS) is common in people who perform repetitive motions of the hand or wrist like typing, sewing, painting, or playing certain instruments or sports. CTS is pressure on the median nerve in the wrist. The median nerve supplies feeling and movement to parts of the hand. The area where this nerve enters the wrist is called the carpal tunnel and is very narrow. Any swelling can pinch the nerve leading to tingling, numbness and weakness in the hand or fingers, specifically the thumb and first two.

For prevention, it is important to take frequent mini-breaks from repetitive wrist movement. A three-minute stretch or wrist exercise session can make the difference in wellbeing and productivity. Good posture when executing the trigger movement is very important, particularly for computer users. Keeping the torso and shoulders in a neutral alignment on the spine with your elbows bent at 90 degrees or greater is ideal. Striving for a neutral position in the wrist is also effective. The repetitive up and down flexion and extension compresses the carpal tunnel inside the wrist, which causes pain and injuries like CTS. If you feel your forearms starting to sag, take a break before you feel it in your wrists.

With so much of our modern communication executed through keyboards and touchscreens the prevention and treatment of CTS becomes as paramount as practicing good posture.

For more on correct positioning while working at a computer:

http://www.healthycomputing.com/office/setup/keyboard/

For correct wrist placement while practicing Pilates:

http://highintensitypilates.tumblr.com/post/29825534423/pilates-mind-body-wrist-placement

Check out this great chart with wonderful exercises for carpal tunnel: http://www.umm.edu/patiented/articles/how_can_carpal_tunnel_syndrome_be_prevented_000034_6.htm#ixzz25HaIJ8n3

HIP Pilates Mind/Body: Wrist Placement

Written by: Kayte Corrigan

Some exercises on the HIP Pilates reformer may strain the wrists, but that doesn’t mean they’re weak.

Anytime you support with your arms, like in plank, hands should be slightly wider than shoulder width, with fingers facing front. Check in with the inner crease of your elbows, which way are they facing? Ideally, they are turned forward, looking away from your body.

With your inner elbows facing forward, the shoulders rotate into the back and away from your ears. This is correct placement for your shoulders. Improper shoulder placement may cause an excess load on the wrist joint. Practicing correct placement of the shoulders will not only take pressure off your wrists but also strengthen the shoulder stabilizers.

Next, check in with your core. Engaging the abs, obliques, inner thighs, and glutes also lifts a bit of weight off your wrists. Keeping the core connected in all exercises also strengthens these stabilizers. And who doesn’t want to tighten those muscles?

If you have a wrist injury or carpal tunnel, your wrists will probably hurt in these positions. Always modify, but if you can, try to practice correct placement a little bit at a time to strengthen the wrists. With proper placement, you may feel a difference.

HIP Pilates

For more on this: http://www.merrithew.com/newsletter/august-2012-newsletter/ask-the-expert