WHAT IS IT??
Carpal tunnel syndrome is a common condition that can cause pain, numbness, tingling and weakness in the hand. The carpal tunnel is a u-shaped passage/tunnel through the wrist that the median nerve and the flexor tendons (tendons that bend the fingers) travel through.
Carpal tunnel syndrome is caused by pressure on the median nerve as it travels through the carpal tunnel. Typically this pressure occurs when the tunnel becomes narrowed or when tissues in the area swell.
1. Numbness, tingling and pain in the hand
- most commonly the thumb, pointer and middle fingers
- may experience pain in the forearm or upper arm as well
- dropping things, difficulty doing up buttons, reduced grip strength
- numbness/tingling due to the wrist being in a bent position when we sleep
1. Repetitive use of the hand
- May aggravate the tissues and tendons causing swelling in the carpal tunnel.
- Aggravation and compression of the median nerve.
- Hormonal changes/increased fluid can increase pressure on the median nerve.
- Variations of the shape and size of the carpal tunnel
- Typically affects females more commonly
- Such as diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, thyroid gland imbalance
Early detection and treatment is important to prevent symptoms from worsening. Non-surgical treatment methods are typically the first line of defence, however if symptoms are severe enough surgery may be recommended.
Most common conservative, non-surgical methods of treatment may include physiotherapy, such as exercises, muscle stretching, manual therapy to get tissues moving better, and acupuncture and dry needling techniques.
Any of this sound like you? There are numerous things that can be done before surgery, and we can elaborate on with a thorough assessment to tailored treatment plan to improve your quality of life. Early proactive treatment is the best line of defence!!
~ Jacquie - PT
1. OrthoInfo. American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons.
2. National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke