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Common Diseases > Cumulative Trauma / Stress Disorders

Introduction
Stress
Anatomy
Diet
Prevention and Treatment
Surgery

Introduction
Occupational Over Use OOS - Repetitive Strain Injury RSI - Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

The painful symptoms of Occupational Over Use, OOS and Repetitive Strain Injury, RSI are most common in the hands, arms, shoulders and to an extent in the upper back and neck. These conditions, or syndromes, have been the focus of much attention in the last few years due to suggestions that they may be linked to occupations that require repetitive use of the hands - such as typing and packaging. They have been of great concern to the Accident Compensation Commission in New Zealand as it has been struggling to avoid a great many compensation claims. In other countries, employers are struggling to retain quality staff who are forced to quit due to these symptoms.

In reality however, there are many people who develop this condition - irregardless of the type of work that they do due to other stress factors.

The following attempt to explain these conditions and describe prevention and treatment options.

Stress
This is perhaps has the greatest negative effect on the body. When the body is under stress it produces a vast array of chemicals that when not eliminated quickly, create problems in the body and compound existing ones.. We conclude that these conditions are compounded by stress.

Anatomy
The body parts most directly affected are the nerves, ligaments and tendons. It may be easier to understand how this occurs if you understand some of the anatomy.

Essentially the nerves and tendons run through a supportive insulating tissue (much like an electric cable, with several wires passing through the plastic sheath) and insulated with a soft tissue called tenosynovium.

With small range repetitive movement in the body exterminates, several things happen:
  1. blood supply slows
  2. there is an insufficient transfer of nutrient energy to the affected cells
  3. due to a lack of energy cell pliability and function is reduced
  4. with the limited movement there is no elimination of toxins
  5. there is friction, which eventually causes inflammation.
Carpal Tunnel Syndrome (cts)
Is a painful condition where the carpal tunnel (which is an opening into the hand that is made up of the bones of the wrist on the bottom and the transverse carpal ligament on the top) becomes inflamed and painful. 

The carpal tunnel carries the median nerve which runs into the hand to supply sensation to the thumb, first and second index fingers, and half of the ring finger. The nerve also supplies a branch to the muscles of the thumb, the thenar muscles which help move the thumb and are very important in moving the thumb so that you can touch each of the other fingers.

Any condition (repetitive use and a build up of toxins) which causes irritation or inflammation of the tendons can result in swelling and thickening of the tenosynovium. As the tenosynovium covering all of the tendons begin to swell and thicken, the pressure begins to increase in the carpal tunnel - because the bones and ligaments that make up the tunnel are not able to stretch in response to the swelling.  Increased pressure in the carpal tunnel begins to squeeze the median nerve against the transverse carpal ligament - because the nerve is the softest structure in the carpal tunnel. 

Eventually, the pressure reaches a point when the nerve can no longer function normally. Pain and numbness in the affected part begins.

One of the first symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome is numbness in the length of the median nerve. This is quickly followed by pain in the same area. Pain may also travel up the arm to the shoulder, and, sometimes the neck. If the condition is allowed to progress, weakness of the thenar muscles can occur. This results in an inability to bring the thumb into opposition with the other fingers and hinders one's grasp.

Different types of arthritis can cause inflammation of the tenosynovium directly as can a fracture of the wrist bones which may later cause cts if the healed fragments result in abnormal irritation on the flexor tendons.

Diet and Nutrition
Often over looked, the diet eaten can have a large influence on these conditions. An acid diet heavy in processed foods and meats with little or no fresh veges and fruits can create an excess acid environment in the body which slows the metabolism and assimilation of nutrients.

A more balanced diet will provide better nutritional support for prevention and - or recovery.

Introduction | Stress | Anatomy | Diet | Prevention and Treatment | Surgery




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Disclaimer:
All Information is provided for educational purposes only and not intended
to be used for any therapeutic purpose, neither is it intended to diagnose,
prevent, treat or cure any disease. Please consult a health care
professional for diagnosis and treatment of medical conditions.
While attempts have been made to ensure the accuracy of this information,
The Health Information Network does not accept any responsibility for any errors or omissions.

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