• Physio Physique

Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

Do you spend countless hours using a keyboard and mouse each day?

Do you have a job that requires repetitive use of your hands, wrist or fingers?

E.g. cleaner, labourer, musician

If you answered yes, this blog could potentially save you from debilitating pain and suffering.

What is Carpal Tunnel Syndrome (CTS)?

You may have heard of this term from friends, family or your health professional.

But what exactly is CTS and what are the symptoms?

CTS is a medical condition caused by compression of the median nerve as it passes through the front of your wrist. Symptoms can include weakness, pain, numbness, tingling in the thumb, index finger, middle finger and half of the ring finger. CTS commonly begins gradually and at night.

carpal tunnel syndrome
Carpal Tunnel Syndrome - common area of pain and numbness

What treatment options are available?

Conservative treatment is the first treatment options and can include physiotherapy, activity modification and prescription of wrist braces/splints. The sooner you address the problem, the faster and easier it will be to recover.

The physiotherapist can teach you about contributing factors, teach simple stretches to reduce pressure in the wrist, teach hand and wrist strengthening exercises designed to offload pressure in the wrist and release tension using various techniques such as dry needling, soft tissue massage, joint mobilisation, stretches and neural glide techniques.

Wrist extension stretch can relieve pressure in carpal tunnel

I have been told I need to have surgery!

Before you undergo any surgery, always try physiotherapy treatment first. It may take time to fully recover with physiotherapy however the treatments are aimed at addressing the root causes. "Quick fix" interventions such as surgery may provide good relief instantly, however the chance of symptoms developing again is high if you do not address the contributing factors.

Usually the causes of your symptoms are what we call "lifestyle factors". These can factors include:

  • The activities you do daily e.g. repetitive computer work

  • The way you sleep e.g. sleeping with flexed wrists/closed fist

  • General health e.g. are you overweight or smoke?

How do I know if I have CTS?

If you are experiencing pain, weakness or tingling in your wrist, hand or fingers then it is possible you are developing early stages of CTS. These symptoms can also be caused by neck issues, therefore is it important to properly diagnose the reason of your symptoms.

Diagnosis can be made by your physiotherapist using a combination of clinical findings and a detailed examination.

Did you find this blog useful?

Your friends, family or colleagues may also benefit from this information. Learning more about health is the best way to prevent and address issues before they affect your lifestyle.

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Still have questions?

Contact Physio Physique if you have any further questions.