Carpal Tunnel Syndrome: A Physical Therapist's Guide To Treatment

Ease the pain in your carpal tunnel with PT treatments
By Luna
Carpal Tunnel Syndrome: A Physical Therapist's Guide To Treatment

Carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS) is one of the most common nerve disorders affecting adults today. There are around eight million people affected by carpal tunnel syndrome every year, with 230,000 of these resulting in surgical procedures. A majority of cases are very treatable and can avoid surgery with physical therapies and medications.

Causes of carpal tunnel syndrome

There is typically pain associated with carpal tunnel syndrome that is felt along the nerves of the hand, due to excess pressure in your wrist. This pain can be felt on the median nerve that is located on the palm side of your hand, causing tingling pain and numbness in the thumb, and first three fingers. Often inflammation in or around the wrist can cause swelling which leads to compression of the nerves. That compression can cause undue pain and stress on your wrist and may even lead to numbing sensations, weakness, and tingling.

The swelling could be caused by an existing underlying condition. This can be the result of any of the following:

  • Diabetes
  • Thyroid dysfunction
  • High blood pressure
  • Fractures
  • Wrist-related trauma
  • Rheumatoid arthritis
  • Repetitive movements of the hand

Symptoms to watch out for

Symptoms typically have a gradual onset, with pain along the median nerve being common for those diagnosed with CTS. This pain can also be felt around the thumb and first three fingers of the hand. Depending on the severity, symptoms may also include burning or shooting pain that travels up the arm. It can also affect your sleep if the pain worsens. Patients who have carpal tunnel syndrome can experience pain that ranges from mild to very severe, so getting the right treatment early on is very important and can make a huge difference in recovery time.

What to expect from a diagnosis

It can help to know what symptoms to keep an eye out for to ensure you get the right care you need. Here’s what you can expect from a diagnosis if you think you have carpal tunnel syndrome:

  • Physical Examinations / Tests – These include tests that will evaluate your symptoms, such as testing if there is a tingling sensation after pressure is applied to the median nerve, or if any feeling is lost when the wrist hangs free with the arm sitting upright.
  • Imaging Tests – X-rays, ultrasounds, or MRIs may be necessary for your doctor to assess the connective tissue and bones in your wrist and hand.
  • Electromyogram (EMG) – EMG may be used to determine your muscles’ electrical activity and how well the affected nerve is working in relation to muscle movement.

Recovery with physical therapy and Luna

There are some great ways to treat CTS at home by stretching, taking over-the-counter medications, and wearing a wrist splint, all of which can help to ease your pain and improve your wrist mobility. However, in order to fully heal from this condition and best prevent serious acute pain – often leading to surgery – physical therapy is the best course of action. A physical therapist will work with you to help reduce your pain and improve the strength and range of motion in your wrist.

At Luna, we keep your safety in mind, offering you convenience and personalized care so patients have the confidence and support to complete their treatment plans. You have access to one of our board-certified PTs who specialize in hand physical therapy and will be able to develop the necessary treatment plan for your lifestyle based on your daily habits.

Don’t wait until your symptoms get unbearable. We want you to get back to feeling your best and doing what you love! Contact us today to get the care you need and the pain relief you’ve been waiting for.

Handpicked Resources For You

10 Natural and Home Remedies for Carpal Tunnel Syndrome – Medical News Today

How Do You Treat Carpal Tunnel Syndrome? – Web MD

5 Ways You Can Ease Carpal Tunnel Syndrome Pain Without Surgery – Cleveland Clinic

Eight Signs You Could Have Carpal Tunnel Syndrome – LMH Health

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