Treating Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
Recovering from Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
If you’re experiencing pain, numbness, tingling, and possibly weakness in your hand(s), you might be dealing with Carpal Tunnel Syndrome. Left untreated, it can cause major functional limitations.
Causes of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
Some of the many causes of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome include excessive vibration, trauma and repetitive wrist and finger use. There appears to a correlation between the increased use of keyboards over the past 20 years and the increased impact of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome.
This condition can be treated. It’s important to get an accurate diagnosis by a medical professional to rule out medical conditions related to other body parts. Physical Therapists are very well trained in the diagnosis and treatment of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome. They will be able to assist you in reducing the symptoms and restoring your functional use of the involved hand(s).
The Carpal Tunnel is a pathway created by the natural anatomy of the wrist bones. It is a passageway for numerous structures that make their way into the hand and enable the fingers and thumb to perform the motion of flexion (motion associated with making a tightly closed fist). The contents of the tunnel include the long flexor tendons of the fingers and thumb and the Median nerve.
The tunnel is covered with a leather-like structure called the Retinaculum. This structure keeps the tendons from “bow stringing” as they contract and pull on the fingers to make a fist. The Retinaculum can thicken and cause compression of the contents of the tunnel, and this can lead to the symptoms of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome.
The Median Nerve sends signals to different parts of hand and fingers. It controls sensation, transmits tingling and pain sensations, and enables the muscles to work and cause movement in certain parts of the hand and fingers. If the nerve is compressed excessively, it will send an abnormal signal such as pain, tingling, or numbness. If the compression force is great enough, it can cause the muscles to lose their ability to move the hand/fingers due to loss of strength.
Treatment of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
Physical Therapists are well trained to help patients suffering from Carpal Tunnel Syndrome address the symptoms and reduce the causes. Symptoms can be addressed by reducing inflammation of the contents of the Carpal Tunnel through modalities and proper exercises.
The Physical Therapists addresses long-term recovery from Carpal Tunnel Syndrome by helping patients establish an ergonomically correct workstation at home or at the job site. Proper posture of the head, neck, shoulders, elbows and wrists can greatly reduce the compressive force on the Carpal Tunnel and its structures. In most cases, by eliminating or reducing the frequency of the activity or postural position that is causing the increased compressive force, the symptoms begin to reduce in intensity and severity and usually resolve over time.