Are you experiencing unexplained wrist pain that comes and goes, especially when you perform only certain activities with your hands and arms? Well if so, you may be experiencing Carpal Tunnel Syndrome. Also known as CTS, Carpal Tunnel is a condition involving a nerve that runs down the front of the forearm and through a tunnel in the wrist. This nerve can easily become compressed, which will result in pain, tingling and/or numbness in the fingers, palm, and can extend into the forearm. This is Carpal Tunnel Syndrome. CTS is usually related to various activities overloading the wrist and fingers, a previous wrist injury, pregnancy, diabetes, and/or arthritis, and is more commonly found in women.
Symptoms of Carpal Tunnel may include:
- Numbness, tingling, burning, and pain—primarily in the thumb and index, middle, and ring fingers
- Pain or tingling that may travel up the forearm toward the shoulder
- Sporadic shock-like sensations that radiate to the thumb and index, middle, and ring fingers
- Weakness in the hand—making it hard to perform fine motor movements such as doing up a button
- Dropping things—due to weakness, numbness, or a loss of spatial awareness
It is common to experience worsened symptoms at night-time. This is due to the fact that many people sleep with their wrists bent and twisted, which is something you want to avoid with CTS. Throughout the day, when partaking in activities for a prolonged period of time where the wrist is bent in a forward or backward position, such as using a phone or driving, symptoms may also be worsened. Many patients find that moving or shaking their hands helps to temporarily relieve their symptoms.
Usually, symptoms will begin gradually overtime and without any identifiable injury. Symptoms may come and go at first, but overtime symptoms will occur more frequently or may persist for longer periods of time. Because of the gradual worsening of symptoms, early diagnosis and treatment are very important in the management of CTS. When a health practitioner does an assessment for CTS, they will use what is called Electroneurography (ENG). This is a nerve conduction test, and is the most accurate way to diagnose Carpal Tunnel Syndrome. This test shows the size, character and stage of the disease by assessing the median nerve and the muscle groups it supplies.
Physiotherapy Treatment for Carpal Tunnel Syndrome:
Treatment for Carpal Tunnel will always begin with a full assessment to locate where the source of the pain is coming from. If the source of pain has been located at the nerve in the wrist, treatment can include, for example, manual hands-on techniques that help increase the mobility of that nerve. Physiotherapy treatment may also include a range of motion exercises to increase the mobility in joints. You will be provided with education on avoiding pain provoking positions, as well as important at home strengthening, posture, and mobility exercises.
Acupuncture Treatment for Carpal Tunnel Syndrome:
Acupuncture also works well for treatment of CTS. Acupuncture will alleviate pain and inflammation in the body by focusing on the healing of nerves and biochemical reactions. Treatment will work to stimulate the nerves linked to your CTS through specific acupuncture points for pain alleviation. We can reassure you that acupuncture is a very painless treatment and patients even often feel their pain is alleviated after just the first few sessions.
Massage Therapy Treatment for Carpal Tunnel Syndrome:
Massage Therapy is another great way to treat CTS. Certain techniques best suited for CTS include; compression, cross-fiber function, deep tissue work, stretching, and trigger point techniques. Massage therapy reduces pain, improves grip strength, and makes muscles more flexible, all aiding in decreased Carpal Tunnel pain.