Here in the Physio Performance clinic, we see & treat a lot of hairdressers/beauticians struggling with wrist/arm pain on a weekly basis due to the nature of the industry.
Carpal tunnel syndrome is a very common condition among these types of professions. Hairdressers are the one of the most common professions to report carpal tunnel symptoms at some point in their career. They are in fact three times more likely to suffer from carpal tunnel syndrome than any other profession.
The high chance of developing carpal tunnel syndrome in hairdressers and beauticians comes simply from the nature of their work. Industries involving repetitive intricate movements of the hands and wrist are the most commonly affected by this condition.
Repetitive and intense use of the many flexor tendons leading to the fingers, as well as repetitive flexion of the wrist itself can contribute over time lead to the development of carpal tunnel syndrome.
Carpal tunnel syndrome itself is essentially irritation/inflammation around the median nerve as it passes through the carpal tunnel on the palm side of the wrist. The carpal tunnel itself is created by the gentle arc of the carpal(wrist) bones and a thick band of connective tissue known as the transverse carpal ligament. Through this tunnel runs the flexor digitorum superficialis and profundus tendons, the flexor carpi radialis tendon, the flexor pollicis longus tendon and the median nerve.
Carpal tunnel syndrome will typically present as tingling and numbness in the hands, usually encompassing the thumb and the middle fingers, with the little finger rarely involved due to the oath of the median nerve. Often a weakness can also be seen in the hand, a reduction in grip strength or dropping items as a result of other symptoms.
There are many proposed causes for this syndrome, women are firstly more prone to suffering from symptoms due largely to having a smaller carpal tunnel than males. Anatomic changes/fractures that close the space in the carpal tunnel can also have an effect, but typically the most relevant factor is workplace/environmental factors.
As we have already discussed repetitive intrinsic hand movements, repetitive gripping of smaller objects, as well as working with any vibrating/pulsing tools can contribute to the development of carpal tunnel syndrome.
How do we treat Carpal Tunnel with Physio?
Carpal tunnel syndrome is often treated through conservative management strategies. Most commonly used is a wrist splint, which will limit the amount of flexion produced at the wrist, in an attempt to avoid repetitive flexion which may be aggravating the symptoms.
The wrist splint can be used alongside manual therapies such as Shockwave therapy and muscular release, which help to alleviate pain by addressing any muscular tightness or chronic fatigue in the wrist flexor musculature.
Stretching, strength work and grip strength work are used in the rehabilitation process, helping to build capacity in the wrist/finger flexors to allow for greater tolerance of strain on the area as you return to full activities. As the median nerve is the main contributor to the symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome, a median nerve glide/stretch is commonly used to help mobilise the median nerve, in order to increase mobility and reduce symptoms at the wrist.
Are you a hairdresser or beautician? Are you struggling with Carpal Tunnel due to the nature of your job?
From initial diagnosis to exercises & treatment, Physio Performance is here to help you from start to finish!
Want to get in touch with our team?
You can contact us on 041-9877059 or at firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also book an appointment online with us HERE.