Carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS) refers to median nerve compression. The median nerve runs along the arm through a narrow passage in your wrist called the carpal tunnel, and ends in your hand. Carpal tunnel syndrome is common in laborers, homemakers, women who are pregnant, dentists and workers with desk jobs. One thing each of these professionals have in common is repetitive motions: typing, using power tools, mouse usage, weed pulling or the use of small instruments. This condition causes weakness, tingling, and numbness in your hand and arm.
As stated above, symptoms associated with carpal tunnel syndrome include:
- Weakness in your hands, that could affect your ability to hold things.
- Dropping keys, coffee mugs or other small objects.
- Jolt-like feelings whenever you move your fingers.
- Tingling that runs along the arm.
- Itching, burning and tingling in your palm and thumbs, or your index and middle fingers.
Many factors can lead to or contribute to the development of carpal tunnel syndrome. Some of these risk factors include:
- Anatomic Factors – Anatomic (relating to the structure of the body) factors that could lead to CTS are wrist fractures, dislocations, or arthritis that gradually distorts the bones in the wrist which can put pressure on the median nerve.
- Bodily Fluid Changes – Bodily fluid changes concerning carpal tunnel syndrome refers to fluid retention. When the body starts to retain fluid, it could increase pressure, aggravating the nerve. Fluid retention is common during pregnancy and menopause.
- Work – Those who work in fields, such as construction, assembly lines, or other occupations where workers are required to handle vibrating tools or engage in prolonged and repetitive activities that wear on the wrist, are more susceptible to developing CTS. Environmental factors such as working in the cold could increase the chances of developing or worsen an existing case of nerve damage.
Carpal Tunnel Pain Relief
While there are no proven ways to prevent the development of carpal tunnel syndrome, there are suggested methods that can help minimize stress on your hands and wrists to provide carpal tunnel pain relief. These methods include:
- Taking breaks – If you work in a field that requires the repetitive and prolonged use of your hands and wrists, taking short breaks could help minimize the damage occurring to those areas.
- Relaxing your grip & reducing your force – If your hobby or occupation requires you to write or press buttons for an extended amount of time, using oversized pens and learning to reduce the intensity of your motion could help alleviate the degree of stress on your body.
- Keep your hands warm – Working in cold conditions could increase your chances of developing hand and wrist pain. If you can’t control the temperature in the workplace, consider wearing gloves that extend to your wrists, to maintain warmth.
Carpal Tunnel Pain Relief Treatments
- Dry needling – Dry needling is used to treat muscular pain associated with the wrist flexor muscle groups which are irritated due to CTS. The process entails inserting fine needles into hard or knotted muscle to relieve tension in the afflicted area.
- Soft tissue massage – Soft tissue massage refers to a type of massage therapy where soft tissues affected by carpal tunnel syndrome are massaged to help relieve pain and muscle tension.
- Corrective exercises – Corrective exercises refer to specific movements that emphasize the understanding of anatomy, form, and technique to help reduce pain and strengthen key muscle groups.
- Joint mobilization – Joint mobilization refers to manual therapy intervention where a physical therapist works on a specific joint to decrease joint pain and joint stiffness. If done correctly, this technique provides fast relief from pain.
If you or someone you know is in search of carpal tunnel pain relief, consider seeking assistance from Dr. Junak at Peak Physiotherapy and Performance. Dr. Junak has extensive experience helping relieve carpal tunnel discomfort in patients, using innovative and proven techniques.
To learn more about our carpal tunnel treatment options, contact us for a free phone consultation today.
About the Author
Dr. Andrew Junak is a Doctor of Physical Therapy and Board-Certified Orthopedic Specialist. Dr. Junak received his Doctorate of Physical Therapy from Walsh University and completed his Orthopedic Specialist training at the Cleveland Clinic. He is the owner of Peak Physiotherapy and Performance, a physical therapy clinic in Canal Winchester and Blacklick, Ohio. He serves the local communities of Lancaster, Grove City, Blacklick, Pickerington, and Columbus. Dr. Junak is passionate about helping people solve their problems in order to get them back to doing the things they love.