Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
Carpal tunnel syndrome is a disorder that develops when the median nerve, which travels from the forearm to the hand, is squeezed or compressed as it passes through the wrist’s carpal tunnel. This may result in discomfort, tingling, weakness, and numbness in the hand, wrist, and arm.
The median nerve is compressed as it travels through the carpal tunnel in the wrist, which results in carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS). It’s not always evident what causes this compression, although a number of things can lead to the emergence of CTS.
Risk factors of Carpal tunnel syndrome:
- Repetitive hand and wrist movements: The median nerve can become compressed by repetitive hand and wrist motions, such as typing or using a computer mouse, leading to CTS.
- Injury or trauma to the wrist: The median nerve can get compressed as a result of wrist fractures, dislocations, and other wounds.
- Certain medical conditions: CTS risk factors include diabetes, thyroid conditions, and rheumatoid arthritis.
- Obesity: Obesity and overweight can put more pressure on the carpal tunnel, which can cause CTS.
- Pregnancy: Pregnancy-related hormonal changes and fluid retention can stress the median nerve and result in CTS.
- Genetics: Certain people may have a genetic predisposition to developing CTS.
- Gender: CTS is more likely to affect women than men.
- Age: Those over the age of 50 are more likely to get CTS.
Carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS) can cause a range of symptoms that affect the hand, wrist, and arm.
Some common symptoms of CTS include:
- Numbness or tingling: Numbness or tingling in the fingers, especially the thumb, index, middle, and ring fingers, is a common symptom of CTS. The arm may also feel the effects of this sensation.
- Pain or discomfort: CTS can cause wrist, hand, or forearm pain or discomfort. This pain could be throbbing, burning, or painful, and it might get worse at night.
- Weakness: It may be challenging for some CTS sufferers to grasp things or carry out duties that call for physical ability due to hand or wrist weakness.
- Clumsiness: Due to decreased grip strength, CTS can result in a sense of clumsiness or a tendency to drop items.
- Swelling: Even when there is no obvious swelling, CTS can occasionally result in swelling or a sense of fullness in the fingers or hand.
- Reduced range of motion: CTS patients may have restricted wrist or hand action, making it challenging to carry out daily tasks.
When doing repetitive hand and wrist movements, it’s important to take frequent rests. You should also keep a healthy weight and avoid a lot of activities that could injure your wrists if you are at risk for CTS. You should consult a physiotherapist if you have CTS symptoms in order to have an accurate diagnosis and the best course of care.
Physiotherapy can effectively treat carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS), particularly in the early phases of the illness. A physiotherapist can develop a customized treatment plan with you to address your individual symptoms and the underlying causes of CTS.
Some common physiotherapy treatments for CTS include:
- Wrist splints: A physiotherapist may advise using a wrist splint at night or during activities that aggravate CTS to maintain the wrist in a neutral posture and relieve pressure on the median nerve.
- Stretching and strengthening exercises: Exercises for stretching and strengthening the wrist and hand muscles can increase their strength and range of motion, which helps ease pressure on the median nerve. Based on your particular requirements, a physiotherapist can suggest particular exercises.
- Manual therapy: Deep tissue release, mobilization, and other manual therapy techniques can help in easing pain, enhance blood flow, and enhance wrist and hand mobility.
- Ergonomic modifications: To reduce wrist strain and avoid additional damage, a physiotherapist might suggest ergonomic changes to your office, home, and activities.
- Modalities: The wrist and hand can benefit from the use of heat, cold, ultrasound, and other modalities to help relieve pain and inflammation.
Patients with more severe instances of CTS might require surgery. A physiotherapist can also assist you after surgery to improve your range of motion, reduce pain and swelling, and regain strength and functionality in the injured hand and wrist.