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Carpal Tunnel Physiotherapy: Your Path to Relief

Carpal Tunnel Syndrome – Causes and Treatment

Overview – Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

The carpal tunnel is a small narrow passageway located on the front of your wrist which is formed by the bones and ligaments. The median nerve, blood vessels and tendons of your hand pass through the carpal tunnel. Carpal tunnel syndrome is a condition that affects the median nerve as it passes through the tunnel. When the median nerve becomes compressed in the carpal tunnel, the symptoms may present as numbness, weakness and tingling in the hand or arm.

Compression of the median nerve will occur if there is swelling or thickening of the tendons in the carpal tunnel.

Symptoms:

  • Tingling or Numbness: you may notice numbness or tinging in your hand and fingers. The thumb, index, middle and ring fingers may be affected; this sensation is typical nerve irritation. The sensory defect may travel up your forearm.
  • Weakness: another telltale sing of carpal tunnel syndrome is weakness in your hand. Difficulty gripping and lifting objects or doing regular activities like holding the steering wheel while driving may become difficult.

Risk Factors

  • Fracture of the wrist or arthritis can alter the natural shape of the carpal tunnel putting pressure on the nerve.
  • Carpal tunnel is more common in women.
  • Chronic illnesses such as diabetes or inflammatory conditions like rheumatoid arthritis
  • People who are overweight can be more at risk.
  • Pregnancy
  • Certain medications can have a negative side effect.
  • Medical conditions like thyroid disorders, menopause, kidney failure and lymphedema
  • Occupations that involve repetitive activities or tools that create a vibration like construction workers.

What can I do to minimize carpal tunnel symptoms?

  • Activity modification: try to decrease the repetitive motion of your hands or decrease the physical stress that may aggravate your symptoms.
  • Stretch: increasing the space in the carpal tunnel is achievable through stretching.
  • Be aware of the carpal tunnel and try not to compress the space.
  • Improve posture: keeping yourself in correct alignment will take pressure off the median nerve.
  • Set up your IT area so that your wrists are not being strained and your posture is improved.
  • Wrist brace

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