General | July 7, 2023

Osteopathy: A Conservative Approach For Carpal Tunnel Syndrome In Hairdressers

Dr Jarryd Crisp-OSTEOPATH | SENIOR OSTEOPATH-Double Bachelor of Health Science/Applied Science (Osteopathy), Bachelor of Health Sciences

Carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS) is a prevalent occupational hazard that affects hairdressers due to the repetitive and strenuous nature of their work. The constant use of scissors, hairdryers, and styling tools can lead to chronic wrist pain, tingling, and numbness in the hands and fingers. While traditional treatments for CTS often involve medication or surgery, an alternative approach that has gained recognition is osteopathy. This holistic therapy focuses on the musculoskeletal system and aims to alleviate pain and restore function through non-invasive techniques. In this blog post, we will explore how osteopathy can provide relief for hairdressers suffering from carpal tunnel syndrome.

  1. Identifying the Role of Osteopathy: Osteopathy is a form of manual medicine that emphasizes the body’s self-healing abilities. Osteopaths use a range of techniques, including soft tissue manipulation, joint mobilization, and stretching, to restore balance and optimize the body’s structural integrity. By assessing the whole body, osteopaths aim to identify and address any contributing factors to CTS, such as postural imbalances, muscle tension, or nerve impingements.
  2. Addressing Postural Imbalances: Hairdressers often adopt prolonged static positions or awkward postures while working. Osteopathy can help identify and correct these imbalances by employing various postural exercises, stretches, and ergonomic advice. By improving posture and body mechanics, osteopaths can reduce stress on the wrists and alleviate the symptoms of CTS.
  3. Relieving Muscle Tension: Repetitive movements involved in hairdressing can lead to muscle strain and tension. Osteopathic techniques such as soft tissue manipulation, myofascial release, and trigger point therapy can help relax and release tight muscles in the forearms, hands, and shoulders. This reduces the pressure on the median nerve, which passes through the carpal tunnel in the wrist, leading to pain relief and improved hand function.
  4. Mobilizing Joints: Osteopathic joint mobilization techniques aim to improve the range of motion and restore proper joint alignment. By targeting the wrist, elbow, and shoulder joints, osteopaths can alleviate restrictions that contribute to the compression of the median nerve. Improved joint mobility can reduce inflammation and enhance circulation, facilitating the healing process.
  5. Incorporating Lifestyle Advice: In addition to hands-on techniques, osteopaths often provide advice on lifestyle modifications that can support the healing process. This may include recommendations on proper body mechanics during work, ergonomic adjustments to workstations, and exercises to strengthen and stretch specific muscle groups.

For hairdressers struggling with carpal tunnel syndrome, osteopathy offers a promising non-invasive approach to relieve pain and restore functionality. By addressing postural imbalances, relieving muscle tension, mobilizing joints, and providing lifestyle advice, osteopaths can help hairdressers manage their symptoms and improve their overall well-being. It is important for hairdressers experiencing CTS to consult with a qualified osteopath to receive personalized care and develop a treatment plan tailored to their specific needs. With the holistic approach of osteopathy, hairdressers can regain control over their work-related discomfort and continue pursuing their passion for hairstyling.


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