Carpal Tunnel is a very common injury which many patients just put up with even though there are treatment options available and adjustments can be made to your work and home life to deal with the issue.
Carpal Tunnel can present as tingling, pain and loss of strength (among other symptoms) of the wrist and hand which is due to pressure being placed on the Median nerve which controls your thumb and first three fingers (not your little finger). The nerve is responsible for controlling movement and feeling but when it is compressed it will start to cause you problems.
There are a number of reasons why this may develop – illnesses such as Diabetes and RA may leave you more susceptible to developing this syndrome alongside obesity, smoking, previous wrist trauma, pregnancy and the most common reason of all is repetitive strain injuries (RSI).
RSI is a frequent issue among office and retail workers due to the repetitive nature of their jobs. They can be at a PC or at a checkout for many hours without break with the wrist in a near constant flexed position (hand lower than the wrist) which reduces the available space for the median nerve which is when symptoms may start to develop.
Your Physiotherapist is well placed to diagnose the condition and suggest evidence based treatment options to first alleviate pain and then eliminate the condition all together BUT for a successful long term outcome you may have to change your work/home habits and you may need to use an independent home exercise programme for many months if not years to prevent recurrence. The sooner you start treatment the quicker it will resolve.
There are a number of things you can do to address the issue alongside your Physiotherapy sessions. Firstly, the most simple solution is to stop or limit the activities that are irritating the symptoms or at least take regular breaks! Secondly, try regular icing of the wrist and hand to reduce inflammation and swelling. You can also discuss the use of anti-inflammatory medication with your doctor. Thirdly, consider using a wrist splint at night as this is often when symptoms can become irritated.
Your Physiotherapist at Physio Savvy will employ a number of techniques to help you get back to your best – this may include soft tissue mobilization, joint mobilization, postural exercises, kinesiology taping, ultrasound, passive and active stretching and nerve mobilizations as well as ergonomic advice related to your work situation.
Carpal Tunnel can be addressed so don’t just sit there and put up with the discomfort. Start by calling Physio Savvy today!