How to Manage or Avoid Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

How to Manage or Avoid Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

by Nick A. Titley, M.S., NPI-Certified Posture Specialist

If you spend large amounts of your time on a computer or mobile device then you most certainly need to understand carpal tunnel syndrome and how it develops. Are you ignoring a stubborn tingling or numb pain in your wrists? You may already have symptoms and not realize it. This article is for everyone as anyone can develop the symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome and not realize it.

The National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NIH) website says that carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS) occurs when the median nerve, a nerve that runs from the forearm into the palm, becomes pressed or squeezed at the wrist. This median nerve controls sensations in the palm side of the thumb and fingers, and is also responsible for sending impulses to some of the small muscles in the hand that allow it to move.

NIH also explains that the carpal tunnel—a narrow, rigid passageway of ligament and bones at the base of your hand—houses the median nerve and tendons. Swelling or thickening from irritated tendons causes the tunnel to narrow and compresses your median nerve. The results are painful; You may also suffer weakness or numbness in your hand and wrist that radiates up the arm. If this pain becomes persistent, you may already have carpal tunnel syndrome.

Carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS) starts gradually and is known for intermittent numbness and tingling in your thumb, index and middle fingers. Women are three times more likely than men to develop CTS, because the carpal tunnel may be smaller in women. The dominant hand is usually affected first and produces the most severe pain. The Mayo Clinic website says that you may experience numbness while performing various activities of daily living and you may also drop things due to weakness in your thumb’s pinching muscles.

The National Health Service (NHS) website lists a number of factors that contribute to CTS’s development. A family history of CTS, pregnancy, wrist injuries, health problems like diabetes and rheumatoid arthritis, and strenuous, repetitive work can cause this issue to develop. If CTS becomes severe, you may need surgery to sever the band of tissue around the wrist to reduce pressure on the median nerve.

When you hear carpal tunnel syndrome, most people think of desk jobs, however CTS is not confined to just manufacturing, assembly line or office work; if you engage your wrists daily (e.g. typing, drawing, writing, hairdressing) then you could develop it. You can also develop CTS if you have poor wrist alignment and use improper form while exercising. While a number of factors contribute to this problem it only affects adults and it’s an overuse injury that can be treated.

Take a moment to consider all that you’ve read thus far; please understand that CTS can be treated and in most cases avoided, do not allow this to become a part of your life. Start taking breaks during your job. Stretch your wrists often and allow your arms to sit comfortably in neutral position whenever possible, i.e. arms at your sides with your palms facing inward or toward the body in a relaxed position.

Be aware that weak wrist flexors and extensors contribute toward CTS. Strengthen your wrists by performing exercises and, once again, ensure you stretch them frequently. You need to pay attention to your wrists while engaging in your activities of daily living. Look at the way you use your wrists while driving and performing exercises. Your wrists should be relaxed and not constantly flexed or tensed, and if at all possible kept in neutral position i.e. palms facing toward the body.

Carpal tunnel syndrome is an overuse injury that causes pain, numbness and tingling in the wrist. It can become so severe that you need surgery. CTS can be avoided by proper wrist alignment, exercise and stretching, and by paying closer attention to the way you perform your daily activities. Try to reduce repetitive motions and employ proper care techniques.

 References:

  • “Carpal Tunnel Syndrome: Fact Sheet.” Carpal Tunnel Syndrome: Fact Sheet. The National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, 17 Apr. 2015. Web. 22 Oct. 2015.
  • “Carpal Tunnel Syndrome.” Mayo Clinic. Mayo Clinic, 2 Apr. 2014. Web. 22 Oct. 2015.
  • “Carpal Tunnel Syndrome .” Carpal Tunnel Syndrome. National Health Service, 18 Sept. 2014. Web. 22 Oct. 2015.
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Flexibility: How it Impacts More than Your Muscles

Flexibility: How it Impacts More than Your Muscles

by Nick A. Titley, M.S., NPI-Certified Posture Specialist

Whether you attend the gym or sit in the office daily; you probably have tight muscles and may know little about flexibility. Do you experience neck or back pain? Do you feel aches and tightness when moving your arms and legs? Many people are unable to perform simple movements and thousands are suffering from back and neck pain. Please keep reading; your flexibility is more important than you realize.

In the Foundations of Strength Training and Conditioning book, the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) defines flexibility as a joint’s ability to move through its full range of motion (ROM). Enhanced joint flexibility can reduce the risk of injuries, improve your muscle balance and function, increase performance, improve posture and reduce the incidence of lower back pain.

According to the Human Kinetics website, a fitness and human movement organization, flexibility is necessary to perform your daily activities; getting out of bed, lifting objects and sweeping the floor require some level of flexibility, but unfortunately it deteriorates with age. Over time you create body movements and postural habits that can lead to reduced ROM in your joints, but staying active and stretching regularly can help prevent the loss of mobility. Being flexible significantly reduces the chance of experiencing occasional and chronic back pain.

Poor flexibility means more difficulty when performing your daily activities and can cause joint stiffness, muscle tightness, lower back pain and other postural, and health related problems. A study posted in the American Journal of Physiology has associated poor flexibility with arterial stiffening. Arterial stiffening is called arteriosclerosis and it influences how hard your heart has to work to pump blood through your body. Myocardial infarction (heart attack) and stroke are both a direct consequence of atherosclerosis.

Flexibility training can help you maintain appropriate muscle length. According to the ACSM, muscle shortening can take place over time and flexibility training helps improve muscle balance. If you’re sitting for long periods daily then you may have tight and shortened hamstring and hip flexor muscles that could be causing you lower back pain. Flexibility training helps improve muscular weaknesses and is thought to reduce the risk of injury. It can also improve your posture and your ability to move, relieve stress and reduce the risk of low-back pain.

ACSM suggests the best method for improving flexibility is to perform activities in their full ROM and to engage in a safe stretching program. It’s ill-advised to stretch when you haven’t warmed up, so stretching after your body is warmed up or at the end of a workout is ideal. A simple warm-up could consist of running in place for a few minutes, or by performing some other low level activities that increase your body temperature.

According to Full-Body Flexibility, the book explains how static and dynamic stretches are the most common techniques you can use to improve your flexibility. For static stretching, you merely stretch your muscles by holding the position for 10-30 seconds. Stretching should be done carefully, and with proper technique and breathing; never force yourself into positions or hurry through your routine. Take your time.

Dynamic stretching is another form where you mimic the patterns and movements of the exercise or sport you’re about to perform. If you’re about to play a sport or lift weights you would perform the activities with low resistance first to get your body ready for the real work.

Static stretching and dynamic stretching are your safest options. You can perform stretches alone or have a trained partner take you through the movements. I suggest you stretch your entire body, but pay special attention to your tighter muscles; for many of you this means your hamstrings, hip flexors, rear, lower back, wrists, shoulders, rotator cuffs and neck.

Flexibility means moving a joint through its full ROM and improving flexibility is also strongly associated with managing back pain. Warm up before you stretch and try using dynamic and static stretching techniques. Flexibility means balance; poor flexibility could result in loss of basic function and could lead to health and posture related problems.

 References:

  • Ratamess, Nicholas A. “Warm up and Flexibility.” ACSM’s Foundations of Strength Training and Conditioning. Michigan: Wolters Kluwer Health/Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, 2012. Print.
  • Yamamoto, K., Kawano, H., & Gando, Y. (2009). Poor trunk flexibility is associated with arterial stiffening.American Journal of Physiology, 297(4).  doi:10.1152/ajpheart.00061.2009. Epub 2009 Aug 7.
  • “The Importance and Purpose of Flexibility.” Human-kinetics. Can-Fit-Pro. Web. 31 Aug. 2015.   humankinetics.com/excerpts/excerpts/the-importance-and-purpose-of-flexibility.
  • Blahnik, Jay. “Stretching Basics.” Full-Body Flexibility. 2nd ed. Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication. 2011. Print.

Welcome…To 2014 !

That’s right people !

Welcome to 2014 ! Oh man, the year just started and I’m feeling fantastic. I never waited for 2014 to start resolving things, I just kept going and I hope you do too !

1491674_10152177247163760_1086961705_nFrom me to you, Happy New Year, I wish you health, wealth and an abundance of happiness this year. I wish you challenges, I wish you to overcome anything that held you back in 2013 and I hope that you’ll remember all that you’ve been through and how strong it’s made you.

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Happy New Year everyone !

~Nick A. Titley

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays !

Hi Folks !

Whatever you celebrate at this time I wish you a Merry Christmas and Happy Holiday Season. May all your wishes come to pass, may you eat and be merry and enjoy all the warmth and love of your family, friends and loved ones at this special time. I wish you so much love and happiness and I really do hope wherever you are, whatever you’re doing that you enjoy your day in some way. Even for if you feel like a Scrooge or you know someone that’s being that way, have a fantastic day, I hope their day brightens, and I most certainly hope this post fills you with some love.

All the best friends !

Nick

Merry Christmas !

I’m a work in progress

I know you haven’t heard from me in awhile, I just wanted to let you know i’m doing alright. I’m close to moving the next level of my development. I’m busy studying for another certification exam and should be all set soon. Best believe i’ll be sharing what I’ve learned with all you. Till then, stay safe, stay dedicated and stay on your path.

Nick

Recertification time !

 

Guess who just got their AFAA re-certification package in the mail ! I thought it would never arrive but it’s here and not a day late.

Personal Trainer for 7 years and counting; helping people on their journey, getting educated along the way and building some fantastic relations with great people. I can’t wait to get going on some more work.

Expect to see me back on here soon folks, I have 1 more little thing I need to take care of and you’ll be sure to hear about it 😀

Nick

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Thanks for a Fit Body and Mindset

Hey Folks,

Man I had to share this with you because it’s been quite the ride over these past few weeks. Without disclosing too much, I really needed answers and I sought them within myself. I meditated and I took some quality time away from my usual routine. It was a great experience but I was still missing something, something was still eating at me and I just needed some closure. The past few days I took a trip off island and went to visit family.

I can’t say it was the most healthy trip because I struggled with my health for the few days that I was there. I stuck with it, moved through it, made sure I worked out in the pool, rested where I could, enjoyed the food and I stretched my body and my mind as much as possible. Upon my return I felt just fine, but the weight I had carried felt lifted and I had gained the clarity and closure to a difficult situation I needed.

Sometimes you have to ask others in order to receive answers, as much as I’d like to say look within all the time, sometimes we just don’t have the answers or we need confirmation from a good source. Try to pick the right people or sources, they may not always realize how the information shared could impact you. Choose wisely, and I always suggest being open with the right people. Understand that some people are better at speaking to you about certain topics; you’ll learn this if you already haven’t.

I wanted to give a warm thanks for everyone who was patient with me, to all of you for staying with me on the journey, for reading the posts, for sharing and for practicing the information you found most useful to you. Thanks so much for being with me on my journey as I’m working to stay with you on yours. It’s never easy but it’s damn possible and if it’s possible…you best believe we can get it done !

So Reader, you embark on a new week, a new journey awaits you and I wish you a fulfilling, happy, joyful week. Stay Fit mentally and physically, do what you love and what also makes you uncomfortable because that’s where you’ll grow the most.

All the best and I’ll most certainly be open this week to help anyone maintain or create a Fit Body and Mindset. Let me know and I’ll get right on it !

Nick

P.s. Special Thanks to the people closest to me, who always have my back, who put up with my stuff and who provided the company and responses I needed to get myself back on track. I hope to continue doing similar deeds for others. Thanks !

Checking In

Hi Folks !,

Just wanted to send a quick message to see how you were. I’m doing great, I took some time for myself so yes I was a bit absent from the blogging. I’m ready to share my thoughts and some of my experiences on some events and instances that have taken place over the past few month.

Wherever you are, whatever’s happening to you at this time, I hope you stay well and know that it’s happening for a purpose. In all suffering, in any kind, we have the potential to do and become greater than what we currently are. Be thankful that you’ve overcome obstacles and that you have some obstacles in your path now, you have a great opportunity to put all those virtues and skills you’ve developed to the test. Challenges will refine you, they will help shape you, but ultimately you have to want that change for yourself.

I’m become very thankful for any suffering or challenges I’ve undergone in the past, in every moment I’m given a chance to reflect, to change my behavior and thoughts and to challenge my beliefs on many things. I’d like to say I’ve grown, matured and became a better person as a result of the obstacles and reader, I hope you realize, now or later, how much you’ve grown and matured because of challenges you’ve gone through. Have you gained new insights, new talents and virtues as a result ? Think about it, take a moment to pat yourself on the back for the hardships you’ve overcome and for the lessons you picked up as a result.

In the meantime and between time, continue to do well and take care of yourself. Stay strong, smile and laugh often, and continue learning and growing. Remember reader, you have what you need, just bring it out.

Nick

Looking back

I'm gonna get it

Yet another night that I failed to go to bed on time, it seemed like it was becoming more of a habit than a random occurrence. I caught myself deep in thought, standing on my veranda at 1:35 AM looking at the pretty backdrop of lights on the other island. Though my gaze was forward, I was really looking backward; thoughts raced through my head without limit and I’ve long since given up on restricting their movement. I allow them to flow; I let them move freely because I realize the significance of reflecting on one’s past, especially when you’re focused on creating a better future.

The subject of God was always important for me, and if someone came along that didn’t share the belief or tried to question it, that was just fine. I allow people to be who they are, and I expect to be who I am at the end of the day. No addictions, no drugs or violence, no bad records, no psyche ward visits; I can walk, talk, eat, read, learn and so much more…I am truly blessed, but it’s was easy to feel the opposite when things didn’t go my way.

I remember near death experiences, being so sick I thought I’d die, feeling alone and confused and not having much for my mind and body to consume. However, the thought that something else, something more was in me kept me going. I know one day I’ll make it, and as I reflected on that thought I realized I’m still on that journey. It has taken years to undo what was done in months, its taken months to plant seeds where weeds were once sowed, and its taken hours of pain to make all the successes you achieved seem like nothing when things don’t go your way.

Then there’s people; people are interesting and some will offer a lecture and a hearing ear, but don’t know how listen. They offer help and give handouts, but when they put their hands out their fists remain balled and closed off to actually putting in the work needed to make a difference. Brows furrow when you succeed, eyebrows raise when you say what you don’t need, and egos get damaged when you stand tall above your problems and someone else couldn’t. Remember…the struggle is always different for every one of us.

I think about the many times I got upset when something didn’t work out. I prayed, begged, desired, wanted, worked and I still fell short. I wanted that relationship to work out so bad, I wanted that opportunity, that job, that business idea to pan out and it just didn’t. The joke is, I smile now, because I’m so happy they didn’t work out. I was saved from so much garbage, from so much more pain because an opportunity, job, relationship or business idea didn’t pan out. People I had sat and ate with turned sour, jobs I sought after weren’t meant for me, opportunities I desired would have limited me and relations lost were lost for a reason.

Everything in it’s due season right ? That’s my message and best believe your time will come; every wrong isn’t for your detriment and every right isn’t for your wellbeing. I’ve had great people tell me some bad things, I’ve had complete strangers treat me better than some family, and I’ve forged friends that I would give my last name for and more.

I guess… I’m saying Thanks in my own way to the people who stood by me even for a minute. To the family, old friends and enemies that tried to tear me down, thank you so much, you’ve done a lot for me too, and I can’t overlook that you were a part of my development.

I pause…my time has come to a close and the sound of a car speeding up the road breaks my trance, causing me to look  to the bright street light. I’ll never forget this place; I trained here after hours and used the light to guide my way. It was here that I learned to forge my body, to triumph after failure and most importantly to learn from the mistakes of others.

I exhaled, I had been holding this breath in for some time; I unfolded my arms, unbeknownst to me they had been holding me tight this whole time. I shifted my gaze onward, It was bedtime now, and I had spent enough time tonight being a mental mason.

 

Exercise Survey

Good Day Folks,

I’ve put together a 2 question survey to determine what motivates people to exercise and what stops them from exercising. The link is posted in this message and i’m hoping for over 100 responses. I’ll be happy to share the results after.

Exercise Motivation Survey

Thanks so much !, I’m so excited to see the answers and I’ll be able to better help people based on the responses.

 

Nick