Did you know?
Carpal Tunnel Syndrome (CTS) is the most common nerve entrapment in the U.S. CTS occurs as a result of compression of the median nerve, which runs from your forearm through a passageway in your wrist (the carpal tunnel) to your hand. In many cases, no single cause can be identified; in fact, it may be a combination of risk factors that contribute to the development of the condition. In general, anything that crowds, irritates or compresses the median nerve in the carpal tunnel space can lead to CTS. While often associated with occupational or work-related activities such as computer usage, a wrist fracture can narrow the carpal tunnel and irritate the nerve, as can swelling and inflammation resulting from rheumatoid arthritis.
What are the signs and symptoms of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome?
- Tingling, pain or numbers in the wrist and hand that specifically involves the thumb and index, middle or ring fingers (but not your pinky)
- Pain at night in the wrist and hand
- Muscle wasting and grip weakness
- Hand clumsiness
How can a Physical Therapist help?
Physical Therapists can prescribe exercises to improve nerve mobility and to decrease compression in the median nerve. Physical therapy has been shown to reduce pain and improve function, grip strength and range of motion in patients with CTS, treating even those who have had carpal tunnel surgery. Your physical therapist can also assist in the diagnosis of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome by performing a physical examination that includes special tests and taking a patient history. Additionally, physical therapists can educate, motivate and provide a splint to wear to help reduce pain at night.
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