Common PT Injuries Explained: Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

Intro

After a long day at work, you get in your car to drive home and can’t figure out why that numbness and tingling in your fingers just keeps getting worse. You move your wrist all the way home and eventually, the sensation you’re reluctantly growing accustomed too finally goes away. As soon as you get into the zone at work the next day, the pins and needles make their return.

What is it?

The Carpal Tunnel is a small channel at the base of your wrist, allowing important structures to pass from your forearm to your hand. It usually protects the structures it surrounds, but if something goes awry, the tunnel can narrow. Left untreated, the narrowing tunnel will squeeze the nerve passing through it. This causes symptoms ranging from burning and tingling to pain and weakness in the affected hand.

Regularly putting your wrists in extreme positions or performing long durations of repetitive motion are two of the most common causes of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome (CTS). People who spend their work-day doing things such as typing, driving heavy machinery, or working on an assembly line are more likely to experience CTS due to the repetitive nature of their duties.

CTS is more likely to occur in individuals who are prone to swelling, have had previous wrist injuries, or are taking certain medications.

Treatment

In order to prevent and/or treat Carpal Tunnel Syndrome, specialized stretching and strengthening have shown to be very useful. Education is another key to the prevention of CTS. By learning how to prioritize safe movements, you can continue your life commitments without sacrificing your physical health.

Education regarding proper posture, stretch breaks, use of heat/cold, and trigger identification are all common during the treatment of CTS.

The earlier the treatment begins, the easier it is to get a hold of the symptoms, so if any of this sounds familiar, be sure to contact Modern Rehab or your neighborhood clinic and stay in charge of your body!

 

Want to learn more about Carpal Tunnel Syndrome? Check out the American Physical Therapy Association’s take on the subject.