Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

What is it?

Carpal tunnel syndrome is entrapment of the median nerve as it travels through the palm side of the wrist known as the carpal tunnel. This causes pain, numbness and weakness in the hand and fingers that are normally supplied by the median nerve especially the thumb, index and middle fingers. Most people experience pain at night due to sleeping with a flexed wrist which compresses the nerve.

What does it feel like?

Carpal tunnel syndrome usually starts as a numbness that comes and goes but will worsen into tingling and pain as the nerve is compressed more. Symptoms are felt only from the wrist down. What causes Carpal Tunnel Syndrome? There are many different causes for carpal tunnel syndrome but the most common are swelling in the wrist during pregnancy, tendon overloading with tasks involving a flexed wrist eg using a keyboard or driving, vibration jobs or some predisposing conditions like diabetes.

How is it diagnosed?

Your Physiotherapist can diagnose carpal tunnel syndrome from your symptoms and from a few specific tests around your elbow and wrist. It can normally be diagnosed without invasive tests or investigations. Further investigations such as nerve conduction testing may be required if your symptoms are not improving after a few months of rehabilitation.

How can Back in Action Physiotherapy help?

At Back in Action we will talk to you and listen to how your pain is affecting your everyday activities. We will look at the whole mechanical chain including how you lift and use your arms, wrist and fingers to do normal daily tasks and the aggravating activities. We will treat the local symptoms withtechniques such as mobilisations, massage, stretching, acupuncture, and give you some basic home exercises to help you get better, faster. We can advise and educate you about your injury and set goals with you to achieve in and out of our sessions. Painkillers and Anti-inflammatories can help to relieve some pain and we recommend you see your local Pharmacist or Doctor regarding the best type for you.