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Carpal Tunnel

Carpal Tunnel and Repetitive Strain Injury (RSI) …they are both painful conditions.

I am sure like me you will know someone or know of someone who struggles with Repetitive Strain Injury. Any Occupational Therapist or HR professional will know of someone who has had to take time out of work due to this condition.

Due, or so we thought to overuse, poor workplace ergonomics, but until recently, no one has made the connection to stress in people’s lives.

Carpal Tunnel Syndrome is caused by pressure on the median nerve in the wrist and can be easily confused with RSI.

How can we tell the difference?

People are more likely to suffer from CTS who frequently use the wrist i.e. in gripping hand tools or playing musical instruments.

RSI can affect many other parts of the body, most commonly the wrist, elbow and shoulder.

Emotions play a large part in our lives, how we deal with them and how much pressure we feel we are under can quickly lead to stress, anxiety, poor sleep, poor diet, self-medication, the list is endless. We live with this for years, not making a link to what is going on and the outcome of our way of life:

Here in the clinic we see a lot of people with this condition. They come to us only after they have exhausted every avenue, medication from the GP. Referral to Physio, Occupational Health, HR, and so it goes on. We are if you like, a last hope or chance to see if there is anything that can be done. In her book ‘Metaphysical Anatomy’ Evette Rose lists some of the common emotional issues associated with Carpal Tunnel.

  • You can feel rigid and stubborn when you are confronted with circumstances that would require you to ask for support and allow you to receive support.

  • You find it difficult to communicate your needs because of fear of rejection, criticism or being considered a burden.

  • You know exactly what you need but fear asking for support as you associate expressing your needs with being controlled. Your lack of self-expression may be holding you back from making personal progress and moving on with your goal.

  • You may feel weighed down by responsibilities that have piled up as a result of not asking for support when you should or could.

  • You are often set in your ways along with the fighting instinct that is activated. This can make you inflexible and stubborn when it comes to changing your circumstances or taking advantage of new opportunities.

  • Influential people projected rigid and controlling values and beliefs onto you. This caused you to feel rigid and unbending with new information. This pattern that developed has left you stagnant and resistant to being flexible with tasks and goals. Your efforts in life may not have been praised or appreciated in a way that was fulfilling. You may have felt that ‘Nothing I do is right’ I am destined to always be under pressure, punished and undervalued.

  • There may have been a tug of war between parent and child about their direction in life and how the child is handling their personal progress and success. This pattern may play itself out in your adult life. You are often competitive with a parent to show the parent that you can be successful and rise above mistakes.

  • You may have injured this area resulting in this condition.

Key Points

If due to injury questions to ask yourself might be:

Q: What were you feeling emotionally before the injury?

Q: What was going on in your life before this?

Q: What happened in the past when you reached out for love and support or security?

Q: How are you needs being met now?

  • If there is no joy in what you are doing and you are trying to disassociate from it, you may have been forced, pressured or manipulated into doing certain tasks or following a career that does not resonate with you.

Q: How does this make you feel?

  • Who pressured you too much in childhood, is this pattern being repeated by someone in your adult life?

Q: How does that make you feel?

  • Which influential person was hard on you during childhood

Q: How did that make you feel?

  • What is the benefit of overextending yourself?

  • What do you feel deprived of in life? You need specific answers here, don’t just say ‘everyone’ Explore your heart and mind for the answers

Q: What emotions are being squashed for you?

Q: Who betrayed your trust?

  • This condition is often related to boundary issues, explore trauma and fear associated with expressing boundaries. You could also consider writing a letter to the person or persons involved, you do not need to send this letter, you can destroy it afterwards, it is the expression of saying how you felt at the time and how you still feel today and the impact it has had on you that is important to get out onto paper.

Q: Do you say ‘no’ when you need to.

Although studies show that there is a 90% success rate for surgery, there is no follow up after 2 years to see if the condition comes back.

A paper – ‘Long-term outcomes of carpal tunnel release’: a critical review of the literature’…suggests that studies have reported that resolution of paraesthesia’s may not occur for 9 months or more [11, 14, 18, 20, 22]. Incomplete release of the transverse carpal ligament, scar tissue formation, infection, polyneuropathy, and psychosocial factors have all been linked to persistent and/or recurrent patient symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome [6].

So, it begs the question, if there is no apparent benefit to surgery in the longer term why do we go down that route? might it be ‘because we have always done it like this’ I’ve never had Carpal Tunnel Syndrome but I know many people who have. They have used quite a different approach by investigating with the help and support of a practitioner the emotions and events around the time of the symptoms. It has taken several 1-1 sessions but from this they have found a relief if not a discontinuation of symptoms.

If you have would like to know more about our approach to working with you and this painful condition then please do get in touch to talk to one of our practitioners here at the clinic. You can book a free discovery call here.

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