Any repetitive motion of the hands or wrists has the potential to lead to carpal tunnel syndrome, which can cause neurosensory and neuromuscular changes in the hand. If carpal tunnel syndrome is severe, surgery may be necessary to treat it. However, many doctors now recommend hand therapy near me as the first-line treatment for carpal tunnel syndrome as the outcomes are often at least as good as, or better than, surgical outcomes.
Symptoms of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
The carpal tunnel is a space between the bones of your wrist that allows the median nerve to pass through. Repetitive movements of the hands and wrists can cause soft tissues in the carpal tunnel to swell up and put pressure on the median nerve. This pressure and irritation are what cause symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome.
The median nerve supplies the thumb and first two fingers of your hand, so symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome often localize there. CTS symptoms can include numbness or tingling of the hand, especially in these three digits. It can cause weakness, making it more difficult to grip objects. It can also cause pain, particularly a burning or electric-shock sensation that travels down the arm into the fingers. Symptoms can occur at night and wake you up when you are trying to sleep. (1)
How To Tell Your Carpal Tunnel Is Out of Control
If symptoms such as numbness and tingling in your fingers are always present, or if they interfere with your sleep or your ability to perform work and other normal activities, your carpal tunnel syndrome requires treatment. For example, weakness in your first three digits can cause you to drop things, or you may have trouble gripping onto things such as door handles.
However, if you have any symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome, even if they are relatively mild, you should inquire about physical therapy in Evansville IN. Without treatment, carpal tunnel syndrome can lead to permanent damage to the muscles and nerves.
PT Exercises and Devices That Can Help
A doctor or physical therapist may give you a wrist brace that holds your wrist in a position that does not put pressure on the median nerve. You may have to wear these braces all the time, or during activities that aggravate your symptoms. However, in many cases, you only have to wear them at night.
A physical therapist near me can also teach you exercises that can help improve your motion and relieve pain. Examples of exercises that a physical therapist may teach you to help with carpal tunnel syndrome include the following:
- Wrist extension stretch
- Wrist flexion stretch
- Thumb stretch
- Finger stretch
- Wrist rotations
At first, your physical therapist will guide you through these exercises during your clinic appointments. The therapist will then teach you how you can keep doing them at home and tell you how often to do them.
Another type of exercise frequently used in physical therapy for carpal tunnel syndrome is nerve gliding exercises that help encourage freer movement of the median nerve within the carpal tunnel.
You can ask for a recommendation to a physical therapist from your doctor, or you can do your own research and find one yourself. (2)
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