Muscle Atrophy and Loss of Grip Strength – Carpal Tunnel Symptom

Authored by Medical Expert: Mr. Alan Ward, MSOT, Master Occupational Therapist, Expert in Splinting and Bracing of Hands and Forearms

Carpal Tunnel Question:

“I have no strength in my four fingers and my hand muscles are wasting away, because of my carpal tunnel syndrome hand pain and wrist pain. Do you think the Carpal Solution can help me? Can I get my muscle back?”



Carpal Tunnel Answer:

Thank you for your question, it is common for people suffering from Carpal Tunnel Syndrome (CTS) to experience muscle atrophy in their hands, wrists and forearms. Sometimes CTS will also diminish the bicep and shoulder muscles. People are confused by symptoms and atrophy that occur a distance from where the nerve is being pinched. Presentation of symptoms that are distant from the pinch point can make this syndrome confusing and more difficult to diagnose.

The short answer to your question is: Yes, you can get your hand and forearm muscles back and restore your grip strength.

So, don’t lose hope, we are going to tell you how to get your hands back to normal. First, it is important to understand the path that leads to this state of muscle melting away and loss of grip strength that is associated with CTS. If people know the cause of their muscle loss, they are in a better position to prevent it and avoid the treatment and actions that lead to chronic muscle atrophy.

carpal tunnel hand painOne of the first things recommended by the healthcare system when a patient is diagnosed with CTS, is to purchase and start wearing an immobilizing wrist splint or a rigid hand brace also known as a “Cock-up Splint”. These devices sometimes provide some relief from discomfort in the beginning because they prevent movement that can aggravate the hand pain and wrist pain. However, in the long run, these rigid supports contribute to sustained muscle atrophy and can injure soft tissue on the hand and forearm worsening Carpal Tunnel symptoms. Use of these rigid hand splints complicates the patient’s recovery from this challenging syndrome.

The doctors at First Hand Medical recommend that you stay away from the rigid hand braces and wrist splints altogether because they do more harm than good.

There are three types of peripheral nerves in your hands and arms. These are:

  1. Sensory Nerves which connect to your skin and provide feedback to the brain with the sense of touch, feeling, and temperature.
  2. Motor Nerves which connect to your muscles and allow the brain to control the movement of the muscles to contract and function with a squeeze, twist, grip, grab, lift, scratch or stroke.
  3. Autonomic Nerves which connect to your internal organs and provide feedback and control signals back to the organs.

The fine motor skills required for buttoning a button or picking up a coin or putting on make-up, require both the Sensory Nerves and the Motor Nerves to work intimately together to perform such functions accurately and with precision.

strength exercising for carpal tunnelWhen the Median Nerve is pinched in the Carpal Tunnel it often affects both the Sensory Nerves and the Motor Nerves. This chronic hand condition will interfere with the synchronicity of the nerve signals and mixes up the sequence of the fine motor skills making a person feel clumsy and weak. Sufferers find themselves regularly dropping objects and losing control of their muscles. This loss of control can also contribute to muscle atrophy and loss of grip strength.

The constant tingling and numbness in the hands will cause the muscles in the hand and forearm to malfunction and start to shut down. Many people inadvertently use their hands less in an attempt to rest their hands and avoid painful movement. Just resting from movement is not necessarily the right answer.

squeezing ball to help with carpal tunnel On the other hand, some people resort to using a squeeze ball, stress ball, or a spring loaded grip strengthening device to exercise the muscle in their hands, wrists and forearms intensely several times each day. It seems intuitive that exercise will eliminate the muscle atrophy. However, until the pressure is relieved on the Median Nerve, no amount of exercise is going to help. In fact, Overdoing hand exercises with a squeeze ball, is likely to make Carpal Tunnel Syndrome worse.

Normal use of the hand, wrist and forearm muscles are actually good for the hand when combined with restorative rest at night during sleep with full blood circulation and no pressure on the Median Nerve.

The key is to first take the pressure off the median nerve and return the tissue to an effective state of rest and restoration during sleep with normal blood circulation. The Carpal Solution Therapy was designed by doctors to achieve exactly this. The Carpal Solution disposable stretching devices gently stretch the soft tissue during sleep restoring full blood circulation. Flushing the injured soft tissue with nutrient rich blood helps accelerate natural healing and disperses swelling. The consistent gentle stretching also restores flexibility to the soft tissue around the Carpal Tunnel and relieves the pressure on the Median Nerve. Once the pressure is gone your body’s natural healing takes over. Patients report a noticeable increase in grip strength and the return of muscle strength within three to four weeks with the Carpal Solution Treatment.

Rock climber holding onSo, hang in there. You do not need to resort to extreme measures with risky outcomes and lots of potential complications and downtime, like Carpal Tunnel Surgery. The natural stretching therapy offered by the Doctors who developed the Carpal Solution is the best first line treatment option for eliminating Carpal Tunnel Syndrome and restoring muscle mass and hand function.

The Carpal Solution Treatment eliminates hand numbness, wrist pain, tingling and that pins and needles feeling. It also allows you to sleep through the night without interruptions associated with CTS.

People are able to return to regular activities within 3 to 6 weeks and even extreme activities like rock climbing and Karate or Golf and Gardening within a short time of treating their CTS with the Carpal Solution Treatment Regimen. We can help you. If you have lost significant muscle mass you should test your hand strength in a safe environment before you take on an extreme activity like rock climbing or a karate tournament.

staying active with carpal tunnelA rhythmic pattern of restoration with the Carpal Solution Stretching Therapy at night followed by increasing levels of normal hand activity during the day; is the ideal way to rebuild your hand muscle and the muscles of the forearm. Once you have regained your normal grip strength through normal hand use, it would be appropriate to do some hand exercises if you feel inclined to do this.  However, it is not necessary.  Also, it is important to keep in mind that doing extreme hand exercises with specialized equipment can actually bring Carpal Tunnel back more quickly, so a gradual gentle approach is recommended if you do this at all.  People prone to Carpal Tunnel should avoid extreme grip strength exercises. It might be counterintuitive to some, but extreme exercise of the hand can cause inflammation and over tightness which can aggravate Carpal Tunnel Syndrome.

We have distribution warehouses in Sao Paulo – Brazil for rapid delivery throughout Brazil. We also have a warehouse in Amsterdam – Netherlands for distribution through-out the European Community. These are in addition to the warehouses we have in Boston, Massachusetts and Salt Lake City, Utah and Tokyo, Japan. We ship the Carpal Solution Treatment worldwide from these locations. It does not matter where you might be, we can help you get rid of the hand pain and numbness within just a few weeks.

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