Carpal Tunnel Syndrome (CTS) – a common and often misunderstood condition that can greatly impact your daily life. As our reliance on technology grows, so does the prevalence of CTS among individuals of all ages and professions. Whether you’re an office worker, a gamer, a writer, or simply someone who spends a significant amount of time on digital devices, understanding Carpal Tunnel Syndrome is crucial for safeguarding your hand health. If you’ve ever experienced tingling, numbness, or pain in your hands and fingers, don’t worry; you’re not alone, and there are practical steps you can take to improve your condition. 

What are the Causes of Carpal Tunnel syndrome?

Carpal tunnel syndrome can be attributed to a combination of factors, and repetitive activities can be a contributing factor. 

  • Repetitive hand movements: Doing the same hand and wrist motions repeatedly, such as typing on a keyboard or using a mouse extensively, can put strain on the median nerve.
  • Awkward hand positions: Maintaining unnatural or awkward hand positions while working can increase pressure on the wrist’s carpal tunnel and the median nerve.
  • Forceful hand activities: Engaging in forceful activities that involve the hands and wrists, such as heavy lifting, can contribute to the development of carpal tunnel syndrome.
  • Prolonged wrist flexion: Keeping the wrist flexed for prolonged periods, like bending the wrist downwards while typing, can compress the median nerve.
  • Pre-existing health conditions: Conditions like diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, and hormonal imbalances may increase the risk of developing carpal tunnel syndrome.
  • Genetics: Some individuals may have a genetic predisposition to developing carpal tunnel syndrome.
  • Pregnancy: Pregnant women may experience hormonal changes that can lead to increased fluid retention, which can compress the carpal tunnel and cause symptoms.

What are the Symptoms of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome?

  • Numbness and Tingling: The most common symptom of carpal tunnel syndrome is numbness and tingling in the thumb, index finger, middle finger, and the thumb side of the ring finger. This sensation often occurs during or after repetitive hand movements.
  • Pain and Discomfort: Individuals with CTS may experience pain or discomfort in the hand and wrist. The pain may radiate up the forearm or even to the shoulder in severe cases.
  • Weakness: Weakness in the hand and a decreased ability to grip objects firmly may develop as the condition progresses.
  • Burning Sensation: Some people with carpal tunnel syndrome may report a burning sensation in the affected hand.
  • Nighttime Symptoms: CTS symptoms often worsen at night, leading to sleep disturbances. Many individuals wake up with numbness and tingling in their hands and may need to shake or move their hands to alleviate the symptoms.
  • Worsening with Use: Symptoms may worsen with repetitive hand and wrist movements, such as typing, using a mouse, or performing SEO-related tasks that involve continuous manual work.
  • Relief with Rest: The symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome may improve with rest or by changing hand positions, such as shaking the hands or hanging them over the side of the bed.
  • Clumsiness: As the condition progresses, individuals may experience a decrease in fine motor skills and coordination, leading to increased clumsiness.

How can Physiotherapy help Carpal Tunnel Syndrome?

Firstly, the physiotherapist will conduct a thorough assessment and diagnosis of the individual’s condition. Through various tests and examinations, the physiotherapist will confirm the presence of carpal tunnel syndrome and determine its severity. This diagnostic process is essential as it allows the physiotherapist to develop a tailored treatment plan that addresses the individual’s unique needs.

One of the key contributions of a physiotherapist is in providing education and ergonomic advice. By raising awareness about how repetitive hand and wrist movements, awkward hand positions, and prolonged wrist flexion can contribute to the condition, the physiotherapist empowers the individual to make informed changes in their work habits. They will offer practical guidance on optimizing the workstation setup, recommending ergonomic tools and equipment, and promoting better hand and wrist posture during work to reduce strain on the affected area.

To alleviate the symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome and promote healing, the physiotherapist will design a personalized exercise program. This program will include a range of motion and strengthening exercises targeted at improving flexibility and building strength in the muscles of the hands and forearms. By enhancing the hand and wrist’s overall function, these exercises help to reduce pressure on the median nerve, which passes through the carpal tunnel. The physiotherapist will ensure that the exercises are safe and appropriate for the individual’s condition, and they will provide guidance on how to perform them correctly.

Additionally, a physiotherapist may incorporate other treatment modalities into the management plan. This can include techniques such as manual therapy, soft tissue mobilization, and nerve gliding exercises, all aimed at reducing pain, inflammation, and promoting nerve mobility in the affected area. They may also recommend using heat or cold therapy to relieve discomfort and encourage healing.

Furthermore, the physiotherapist will emphasize the importance of self-management and preventive measures. They will guide the individual on proper body mechanics, including taking regular breaks and incorporating stretching exercises into their work routine. By adopting these practices, the individual can reduce the risk of further exacerbation and manage their symptoms effectively.

Overall, physiotherapists provide a comprehensive approach that involves assessment, education, exercise prescription, and various therapeutic interventions to improve the individual’s well-being and functional capacity. By collaborating with a physiotherapist, individuals can enhance their quality of life and continue engaging in their occupation with reduced discomfort and improved hand and wrist health.

If you are experiencing the discomfort of carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS), don’t let it hinder your daily life any longer. Take the first step towards relief and improved hand function by booking an appointment with Physiomobility. With our expertise in treating CTS and our commitment to personalized care, you can trust that you’ll be in good hands. Reach out to us today at 416-444-4800 or email reception@physiomobility.ca to schedule your appointment and embark on your journey towards a pain-free future.

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Physiomobility continues to remain open and is not part of the lockdown. We continue to have rigorous disinfection policies and procedures in place to ensure the safety of our community and are open for patient in-person visits with all of our practitioners.

Virtual appointments are available and encouraged for those who are at a heightened risk of illness.

We remain focused on our quality of care & our continued commitment to helping our patients feel their best. For further assistance, you can contact us at 416-444-4800 during our opening hours. 

The Physiomobility Team