Muscle Spasms Mimic Symptoms of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome & Cause Repetitve Strain Injury

Muscle Spasms Mimic Symptoms of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome & Cause Repetitve Strain Injury

Do you suffer from chronic low back pain? Do your knees hurt when you go up
the stairs,Muscle Spasms Mimic Symptoms of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome & Cause Repetitve Strain Injury Articles and your hands hurt when you try to open a jar? Do you
experience headaches that feel like a bomb going off in your head? Do you
get ringing in your ears? Have you been diagnosed as having carpal tunnel

These conditions can all be the end result of muscle spasms! While it seems
incredible that a simple thing like a spasm can cause so much trouble, it¹s
easy to understand when you take a close look at the body. There are 600
muscles in the body and 206 bones. The only reason that bones move is
because muscles pull on them (unless you have a traumatic accident), and
therein lies the problem. The muscle originates at a stationary point in
the body, it then crosses over a joint and inserts onto another bone. When
a muscle contracts it pulls the insertion point toward the origination
point, and the joint bends. For example, the biceps and triceps are
responsible for bending the elbow. If your arm is straight out and you
contract the biceps muscle the elbow begins to bend. At the same time, in
order for the arm to completely bend, the triceps muscle must fully stretch.
If you then want to straighten your arm again the triceps must contract and
the biceps must fully stretch. If you try this, slowly, with your own arm
you will understand the concept easily.

If, for example, the triceps muscle is contracted and shortened by a spasm,
you will only be able to bend your arm as far as the triceps will stretch.
Many people then think that they have a problem with the elbow, while the
problem is actually less serious than it appears.

We teach our clients an analogy that is very helpful in understanding the
root of the muscle spasm situation. Imagine a young child standing between
a deep well filled with water, and a big rain barrel. The child has an
eyedropper and is going from the well to the rain barrel putting tiny
amounts on water into the barrel, many times back and forth for hours
every day. Then, about 40 years later, the rain barrel overflows. The
child (who is now an adult) says “I don¹t understand, I¹ve been doing this
for years and it¹s never done this before!” Likewise, people say to us:
“I¹ve been doing this (exercise, etc.) for years and it never hurt before, I
must be getting old” No you¹re not getting old, you just never emptied
your “rain barrel” and now its overflowed!

The body is amazing. We have mechanisms for healing that are so incredible
that science still hasn¹t been able to fully understand how they work. Our
bodies mutate very slowly, but life is now changing rapidly. It wasn¹t such
a long time ago, before electricity was discovered, that people would work
very hard all day and then rest when the sun went down, going to bed
early. In the past, when people would rest at the end of the day, the body
would begin its process of removing the lactic acid that is the natural
by-product of muscle action. This is the body¹s method of emptying the rain
barrel. But, when electricity increased the hours in our days, we began to
stretch ourselves by working out in gyms, staying on the computer until late
at night, and even doing fun things like dancing until the wee hours. Our
bodies weren¹t able to keep up with the increased lactic acid production,
and we began to pile up spasms one on top of the other. This continued day
after day, and our muscles started getting tighter and tighter.

This situation leads to the next analogy that we share with our patients.
Remember that muscles originate in one place, cross over the joint and then
insert in another place. Muscles always pull on the insertion point. Now,
visualize pulling your hair at the end. You don¹t feel it at the end where
you are pulling, but you do feel it on the scalp where it inserts.
Likewise, you rarely feel the pain in the part of the muscle that is being
pulled, but you do feel it at the insertion.

With so many people working for hours on the computer, we are seeing more
and more people with wrist and hand pain. Using the information just
mentioned above, examine the muscles that move the hand. The muscles of the
forearm originate at, or near, the elbow. They then insert in the hand and
wrist. The muscles on the top of the arm are called the “extensors”, and the
muscles on the underside of the arm are called “flexors”. When the flexors
contract the hand is pulled into a fist, &/or the hand moves down. When the
extensors contract the hand &/or finger are pulled up. If you grip your
forearm with your opposite hand, then wiggle your fingers, and open & close
your hand, you will feel the flexors & extensors contracting. Also, if you
move your hand side to side you will also feel the muscles that are
responsible for that motion.

These are very powerful muscles, and they are being used repetitively for
many hours daily. After work if you go home and play tennis, or the piano,
crochet or play computer games, you are again contracting these muscles over
and over. Eventually you have pain at your wrist, and you are told you have
carpal tunnel syndrome. In reality you have repetitive strain injury (RSI)
of the forearm muscles.

At the Carpal Tunnel Treatment Center we use an analogy that helps our
patients understand why the pain is felt so far from the spasm. If you
pulled your hair at the end you wouldn¹t feel it there, you would feel it at
the scalp where it inserts. If you pulled it for a very long time you would
eventually get an inflammation, swelling, and pain would radiate away from
the point of insertion. Exactly the same thing is happening in your wrist.

When the muscles of the forearm contract, and stay in the contracted
position due to spasms, the strain is put on the insertion point at the
wrist. Eventually you end up with an inflammation and swelling. Since all
the flexor tendons travel through the carpal tunnel, they cause pain and
swelling in that area. You are diagnosed with carpal tunnel syndrome, but
the quickest and easiest therapy is to release the muscle. Surgery will
open the bridge to the carpal tunnel, but the muscles will still be putting
strain on the insertion points.

Another muscle that has a serious impact on the carpal tunnel is the muscle
of the thumb. This is the meaty muscle that is felt at the base of the
thumb, called the Opponens Pollicis. The Opponens Pollicis originates at
the ligament that forms the bridge of the carpal tunnel, and it inserts at
the base of your thumb. When this muscle contracts you draw your thumb in
toward your palm. You use this muscle many thousands of times a day and
you never stretch it. It is extremely common for this muscle to contract,
and stay in the shortened position. When that happens it is pulling hard on
the bridge to the carpal tunnel and is pressing down on the median nerve.
You now experience numbness in your thumb and first two fingers. Releasing
the tension in this muscle will also release the pressure on the median

It is vital to work on the muscles of the forearm. Each individual muscle
spasms needs to be worked out. These are deep muscles, a light massage
won¹t be as effective as deep muscle therapy. Proper therapy, and
stretching all of the muscles, has proven to completely heal this condition
without surgery.

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Author: Piyawut Sutthiruk

Losing weight will keep you healthy and have a long life. Cheer Up!

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