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The Carpal Tunnel Cure

Regardless of our best intentions to sit with perfect posture, sore wrists seem to be a mainstay. And texting ad nauseum certainly doesn’t help. We turned to our resident integrative specialist, Lauren Roxburgh for some tips on lower arm health. (For more from Lauren, see The Secrets of the Pelvic Floor, Undo the Day, How to Get a Slimmer Waist, Fascia: The Secret Organ.)

by Lauren Roxburgh

After yet another long day at the computer, who hasn’t experienced sore and achy wrists? It’s a common problem—and one that hopefully goes away when you get to take a break from the keyboard. But wrist problems, especially Carpal Tunnel Syndrome (CTS), have become an epidemic in this digital age where taking a break is getting increasingly hard to do.

Carpal Tunnel Syndrome is basically an irritation or inflammation that causes compression on the median nerve. The resulting symptoms manifest around the wrists and can cause pain, tingling, and numbness. CTS is typically caused by repetitive movements that cause strain and injury—tapping on your keyboard or cell phone for hours each day being classic examples. When treating this ailment, conventional medicine typically focuses on the wrist and surgery is often the solution with a cut being made to the transverse carpal tunnel ligament to relieve pressure on the median nerve. The problem is that this sort of surgery often just treats the symptoms and doesn’t necessarily get to the root of the issue.

As someone who deals with fascia and alignment every day, my perspective on CTS is a bit more holistic. Since fascia is a continuous web that wraps around every muscle, tendon, ligament, and joint, I’ve found that symptoms in one area can often be traced back to problems in another area. And because the median nerve actually originates in the neck and shoulder area, I like to look at the entire shoulder girdle and the pathway the median nerve takes down the arm.

What I’ve observed in clients is that it is actually postural problems that are the real culprits. Think about it for a second: We spend so much of our day driving, texting, or typing and this often causes our arms to rotate inwards and our heads to slump forward, knocking our posture out of alignment.

Combine this poor posture with repetitive movements and over time scar tissue will build up in the fascia around the median nerve, decreasing blood flow and ultimately creating the pain and numbness we associate with CTS. Sure you can simply snip a ligament—but why take such drastic measures in one area when some techniques to correct the alignment of another area might address the issue?

Here are a few simple tips to help to unwind the rotation of the arms. Creating space and bringing the body back into a healthy alignment not only boosts circulation, it also helps “lubricate” the connective tissue, and muscles of the chest neck, shoulders, forearms, wrists, and thumbs, which can have huge benefits in reducing inflammation or discomfort in the wrists.

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1. Palms Up Restorative Chest Opening

  • Lay on the roller the long way so that your entire spine is supported from head to tailbone. Begin with arms out to the side with palms up and chest expanded. Inhale deeply as you reach your arms up overhead slowly and with control, keeping them as close to the mat as possible and parallel to the floor.

  • Exhale completely as you draw your arms back down by your hips and gently exhale the C02 out of your lungs.

  • Repeat 8 times.

Benefit: This move opens the chest and brings circulation to the upper and middle back, shoulders, and helps align the neck.

2. Shoulder Blade Mobilization Slide

  • Lay on the roller the long way, so that your entire spine is supported from head to tailbone. Reach your arms up over your head as close to the floor behind you. Inhale as you slightly slide your upper body to the left. Exhale as you slide your upper body slightly to the right.

  • Repeat 8 times on each side.

Benefit: This boosts circulation and blood flow to the deeper muscles of the upper back and shoulder blades while opening the chest and front of shoulders. It helps align the neck and head and reduce the feeling of heaviness on the shoulders.

3. Arm De-Rotation

  • Place the roller behind you with your palms down on the roller and your fingers pointing behind you and your legs extended long in front of you with inner thighs together. Keeping the roller stable, inhale and bend your right elbow and lean over to your right hip bone keeping the left arm extended and chest open. Exhale as you lean to the other side.

  • Repeat 8 times on each side.

Benefit: This moves helps unwind the internal rotations in the shoulders, arms, and forearms and helps open up the collarbone and reveal a more elegant posture.

4. Crossed Leg Chest Expansion

  • Keep the roller behind you and cross your legs in front of you. Reach both arms back with thumbs rotating out. Inhale as you press your hips forward and up keeping your heart open and the roller stable.

  • Repeat 8 times.

Benefit: Opens the chest, heart, and fronts of the shoulders. Helps release tension and emotions stored in the chest and hips.

5. Rolling Forearm Release

  • Come to your knees on the mat and place your upper forearms on the roller just below your elbow joints and palms up with thumbs out to the side. You should be in a table-top position with hips over knees. Inhale as you lean your body weight into the roller and roll down your forearms while the roller comes closer to you. Exhale as you return back to your starting position.

  • Repeat 8 times.

Benefit: This move is like a forearm massage. It helps promote circulation and blood flow to the forearms and hands.

6. Hand and Thumb Roll Stretch

  • Come down to your knees about hip-width apart and bring the roller about a foot away from your knees. Lean your upper body slightly forward and place your fingers on the roller, bending at the root of your fingers and stretching the palm. Inhale as you roll the roller a few inches away from you into the hook of your thumbs. Exhale as you return back up.

  • Repeat 8 times.

Benefit: This move stretches the fascia of the hands, thumbs, the carpal tunnel structures, and the median nerve.

Other Recommendations:

  1. Natural Eggshell Membrane is the extremely powerful layer of connective tissue that connects the egg to the eggshell, and it is the main active ingredient in this incredibly restorative fascia supplement.

    This proprietary and patented ingredient is a natural, food-sourced ingredient that is sustainably derived from the eggshell membrane. It contains the four key nutrients necessary to promote healthy joints: glucosamine, chondroitin, collagen, and hyaluronic acid. It has been clinically proven to reduce joint pain, reduce joint stiffness, and improve joint flexibility in just 7-10 days.

  2. Be sure to take quick breaks from repetitive activities involving the use of your hands at least once every hour or so. Rotate your wrists 5 to 10 times with your palms and fingers stretched out as far as they can go.

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