How it Works

REPETITIVE STRESS INJURY

Wrist pain is a com­mon and costly occu­pa­tional prob­lem affect­ing thou­sands of peo­ple every year. Women report 70% of all occu­pa­tional carpal tun­nel syn­drome injuries, (Booth-Jones, Ses­tito, Alter­man, Har­ri­son, & Flat­tery, 2004). Repet­i­tive stress injuries to the hand and wrist have six com­mon forms, with carpal tun­nel syn­drome being the most preva­lent. 

The Relief Glove is a med­ical device, which has been approved by the FDA, that can be used daily for 20 min­utes for relief and man­age­ment of symp­toms result­ing from carpal tun­nel syn­drome and/or repet­i­tive stress injury. The pas­sive per­sis­tent stretch cre­ated by the Glove length­ens ten­dons and lig­a­ments, restor­ing space in the carpal tun­nels and reliev­ing symp­toms. Con­sis­tent and reg­u­lar use of the Relief Glove results in a positive out­come. The treat­ment time is 12 weeks or less. After the ini­tial treatment clients may continue to use the Relief Glove to man­age flare-ups. The Relief Glove pro­vides a ther­apy allow­ing clients to go on with their reg­u­lar daily activ­i­ties while man­ag­ing their carpal tun­nel syn­drome and/or repet­i­tive stress injury. Patients who have re-injured them­selves have had a pos­i­tive response to inter­mit­tent use of the Relief Glove.  It can be used more often and with less cost than fre­quent phys­i­cal ther­apy or chiro­prac­tic office vis­its would incur.

As with any fit­ness or reha­bil­i­ta­tion pro­gram requir­ing long-term use of a device, it is essen­tial that the client uses the Relief Glove as directed to achieve pos­i­tive results and man­age their symptoms.

THE THEORY BEHIND THE GLOVE

The con­cept of a pas­sive per­sis­tent stretch as a means of increas­ing carpal space and reliev­ing repet­i­tive stress injury is not dis­cussed in research lit­er­a­ture; however it is discussed as applied to the spine for rehabilitation of compressed disks.

Spinal reha­bil­i­ta­tion uses the two main com­po­nents of time and weight to cor­rect the defor­ma­tions of ten­dons and lig­a­ments. Per­sis­tent pas­sive stretch is used to reform lig­a­ments and rehy­drate discs. Studies done on inter­ver­te­bral discs, the space that lies between adja­cent ver­te­brate in the spine, and spinal lig­a­ments indi­cate that, to over­come the nat­ural elas­tic defor­ma­tion of these tis­sues, a con­stant stretching force for 12 –15 min­utes must be achieved. Increase in length of these tis­sues occurs only after the nat­ural flex­i­bil­ity of the tis­sues has been reached (Woo, ’82). The steep­est part of the change curve (length graphed against time) is 20 to 25 min­utes after the begin­ning the ses­sion, and there is little change after that.

A sim­i­lar approach may be used on the fore­arm and mus­cu­lar, ten­do­nous struc­tures of the hand and fingers. A clin­i­cal study was done to deter­mine the amount of weight and time that was nec­es­sary to pro­vide elon­ga­tion of the fore­arm mus­cles with­out harm.

ANATOMY OF THE ARM AND WRIST

The wrist is com­prised of two fore­arm bones, the ulna and the radius, as well as eight wrist bones in the space at the end of the radius and ulna. (See illustration) This is the carpal com­part­ment; it has eight carpal or “wrist” bones in it. Carpal tun­nels are the lit­tle groves between the bones and lig­a­ments in the wrist. We have 19 tun­nels in each wrist. They con­tain the nerves, arteries, veins and ten­dons that operate the fin­gers and hands.

THEORY OF REPETITVE STRESS INJURY

In addition to wrist pain, pain in the fore­arm and elbow is a com­monly asso­ci­ated symp­tom with repet­i­tive stress injury. The flexors and exten­sors of the hand and wrist orig­i­nate in the elbow region and the tight­en­ing and shorten­ing of these mus­cles with activ­ity is a rea­son­able expectation. Misalign­ment of the elbow joints results in a defen­sive tight­en­ing of the mus­cles that operate the wrist and hand, which then causes dis­tress and pain.  Activ­ity, espe­cially repet­i­tive movement, makes the dis­tress worse.  Com­pres­sion of the carpal region results from this tight­en­ing, and can be the source of pain and other symp­toms. This indi­cates that thick­en­ing and short­en­ing of these tis­sues contributes to the syndrome.

The com­mon fea­ture of many repet­i­tive stress injuries or wrist pain is the loss of joint space — a narrow­ing and com­pres­sion of the wrist com­part­ment. All synovial joints (the most common moveable joints) in the body should have a fluid (syn­ovial fluid) between the car­ti­lage sur­faces. The tight­en­ing and short­en­ing of the mus­cles and ten­dons that cross the joints will squeeze or com­press the bones together lim­it­ing or elim­i­nat­ing the synovial fluid bar­rier, result­ing in fric­tion and ero­sion of cartilage. Loss of joint space and ero­sion of the joint car­ti­lage is commonly known as osteoarthri­tis.

It has been shown that these ten­dons increase in mass with exer­cise, i.e. stress. This con­di­tion could cause carpal collapse, the nar­row­ing of the space between the base of the radius bone to the base of the third metacarpal, and loss of joint space in the hand and fin­gers as well. This could be a con­se­quence of con­trac­tion of the flexor-extensor groups. The flexor-extensor mus­cle groups are the fin­ger bend­ing and fin­ger open­ing mus­cles that start at the elbow. Over time repet­i­tive motion may cause the ten­dons and lig­a­ments to become deformed cre­at­ing wrist pain as well as pain in the fore­arm and elbow. Symp­toms may also include a burn­ing and/or tin­gling sen­sa­tion in the fin­gers and thumb, numb­ness in the hand, and inflam­ma­tion of the hand and forearm.