Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

 

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Also called median nerve compression, carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS) occurs when compression of the median nerve in the wrist causes pain and numbness. The carpal tunnel is a narrow passageway in the wrist with just enough room for the tendons and nerves that pass through it. When the tendons become swollen, there is less space for the median nerve, so it can become compressed. Find out more about its causes, symptoms and treatment below.

Symptoms

Please note that every patient is different so symptoms can vary. You may experience a combination of the following or just one:

  • Tingling or numbness in your fingers or your palm that feels like pins and needles
  • Nerve pain in your wrist or hand, which can spread up your arm
  • Swollen fingers
  • Weakness in your hands, making it hard to grip things
Closeup of male arms holding her painful wrist caused by prolonged work on the computer, laptop.

Causes

The most common causes of carpal tunnel syndrome are the following:

  • Wrist or arm injury
  • Overuse (e.g. typing, using vibrating tools)
  • Tendonitis
  • Hypothyroidism
  • Abnormal growth of the hands
  • A cyst or tumour in the carpal tunnel
  • Kidney disease with dialysis
  • Fluid retention during pregnancy or menopause
  • Rheumatoid arthritis & other joint or connective tissue disorders

Please Note – Carpal tunnel syndrome can sometimes develop without an obvious cause. However, working in an occupation that requires repetitive use of hand muscles is a key risk factor.

Treatment

The following recommendations for treatment of Carpal Tunnel syndrome are targeted towards individuals with only minor changes in sensation or motor control/movement in the wrist and hand. Consult with your physiotherapist prior to commencing any of the below treatments.

Sliders, Gliders and Tensioners

Physiotherapist-lead nerve mobilization techniques can be performed to help ensure that the median nerve is moving freely throughout its course within the carpal tunnel. These particular techniques involve gently sliding, gliding or tensioning the median nerve to assist with alleviating symptoms and improving overall hand and wrist function.

Ergonomics

Avoiding positions which you find to be most provocative can also play a major role in improving pain and dysfunction associated with CTS. Repetitive tasks (such as prolonged typing on the computer) and sustained poor postures are likely to aggravate your symptoms. An assessment of your workplace environment is also likely to be beneficial as this can identify the most relevant contributing factors- something which is particularly important for individual’s with office jobs!

Functional Hand and Wrist Exercises

Pain-free functional exercises should be incorporated into your treatment regime in order to improve symptoms, increase range of motion and allow you to regain full control of your wrist, hand and upper limb as a whole. This may involve something as simple as practicing opening a jar, turning a door knob or rolling up a towel. These functional exercises are particularly important following a period of immobilization as simple day-to-day tasks can be quite troublesome.

Wrist Immobilization

In more severe cases, a splint or brace can be used to help reduce the amount of pressure or swelling within the carpal tunnel, therefore reducing the impact on the median nerve and assist with alleviating your symptoms. This also provides the wrist a form of support and ensures the wrist is able to achieve a pain-free range of movement- allowing you to get through your day with minimal pain!

Recovery

Depending on your overall health and lifestyle factors, carpal tunnel syndrome can disappear in a few months or a few years. Some patients may experience problems throughout the course of their lives. In this case, managing the symptoms would be the key along with extra preventative measures that reduce and stop further problems occurring.

To get the best possible treatment for your carpal tunnel syndrome, contact the team at Healthy Bodies Physiotherapy who will set up the right treatment plan for your specific requirements.

Young woman holding her wrist with a splint

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Rehabilitation Gymnasium

Our gym facility, features state of the art equipment including Pilates Reformers, Trapeze Table, Squat Rack, Weightlifting Platform, Bench Press, Barbells, Dumbbells (1-65kg), Exercise Balls and more, spans across a spacious 60 square metre area.

Video analysis equipment can also be set up to record and play back instantly to promote faster learning of correct movement patterns.
Having this fantastic gymnasium setup allows our clinicians to observe our patients’ exercise techniques (E.g. Bench Pressing or Squatting) first-hand so they can advise necessary modifications that will lead to a reduction in pain and a reduction in long term injury risk as well as implement our Small Group Rehabilitation Classes that are designed to help our patients to more efficiently achieve their goals.

 

Group Classes and Exercise Physiology

Group classes We offer a range of small group classes that are supervised by a physiotherapist or exercise physiologist including Supervised Rehabilitation, Clinical Pilates, Hydrotherapy, Diabetes Focus Group, Falls and Balance and Hydrotherapy. AND Exercise physiology involves safe exercise prescription and lifestyle modification to help those with, or at risk of, chronic disease including cardiovascular disease, diabetes, fibromyalgia and osteoarthritis.

We serve clients from the following areas: Mentone, Collingwood, Dandenong, Cheltenham and surrounding areas. Book an appointment today!

Woman exercising with her hand held up and sitting on a gym ball

Rehabilitation Gymnasium

Our gym facility, features state of the art equipment including Pilates Reformers, Trapeze Table, Squat Rack, Weightlifting Platform, Bench Press, Barbells, Dumbbells (1-65kg), Exercise Balls and more, spans across a spacious 60 square metre area.

Video analysis equipment can also be set up to record and play back instantly to promote faster learning of correct movement patterns.
Having this fantastic gymnasium setup allows our clinicians to observe our patients’ exercise techniques (E.g. Bench Pressing or Squatting) first-hand so they can advise necessary modifications that will lead to a reduction in pain and a reduction in long term injury risk as well as implement our Small Group Rehabilitation Classes that are designed to help our patients to more efficiently achieve their goals.

 

Group Classes and Exercise Physiology

Group classes We offer a range of small group classes that are supervised by a physiotherapist or exercise physiologist including Supervised Rehabilitation, Clinical Pilates, Hydrotherapy, Diabetes Focus Group, Falls and Balance and Hydrotherapy. AND Exercise physiology involves safe exercise prescription and lifestyle modification to help those with, or at risk of, chronic disease including cardiovascular disease, diabetes, fibromyalgia and osteoarthritis.

We serve clients from the following areas: Mentone, Collingwood, Dandenong, Cheltenham and surrounding areas. Book an appointment today!

Woman exercising with her hand held up and sitting on a gym ball

Rehabilitation Gymnasium

Our gym facility, features state of the art equipment including Pilates Reformers, Trapeze Table, Squat Rack, Weightlifting Platform, Bench Press, Barbells, Dumbbells (1-65kg), Exercise Balls and more, spans across a spacious 60 square metre area.

Video analysis equipment can also be set up to record and play back instantly to promote faster learning of correct movement patterns.
Having this fantastic gymnasium setup allows our clinicians to observe our patients’ exercise techniques (E.g. Bench Pressing or Squatting) first-hand so they can advise necessary modifications that will lead to a reduction in pain and a reduction in long term injury risk as well as implement our Small Group Rehabilitation Classes that are designed to help our patients to more efficiently achieve their goals.

 

Group Classes and Exercise Physiology

Group classes We offer a range of small group classes that are supervised by a physiotherapist or exercise physiologist including Supervised Rehabilitation, Clinical Pilates, Hydrotherapy, Diabetes Focus Group, Falls and Balance and Hydrotherapy. AND Exercise physiology involves safe exercise prescription and lifestyle modification to help those with, or at risk of, chronic disease including cardiovascular disease, diabetes, fibromyalgia and osteoarthritis.

We serve clients from the following areas: Mentone, Collingwood, Dandenong, Cheltenham and surrounding areas. Book an appointment today!

Woman exercising with her hand held up and sitting on a gym ball