Carpal tunnel syndrome is a common condition in which there is pain, numbness, and tingling in the hand and arm. It occurs when one of the major nerves to the hand, the median nerve, is squeezed or compressed as it travels through the wrist. Early diagnosis and treatment are important in preventing carpal tunnel syndrome from worsening over time. Symptoms can often be relieved by wearing a wrist splint or avoiding certain activities.
Carpal tunnel syndrome can be caused by a combination of factors. Women and older people are more likely to develop the condition.
Other risk factors include:
- Heredity - The carpal tunnel may be smaller in some people or there may be anatomic differences that change the amount of space for the nerve. These traits can run in families.
- Repetitive hand use - Repeating the same hand or wrist movement over a prolonged period of time may aggravate the tendons in the wrist, causing swelling that puts pressure on the nerve.
- Hand and wrist position - Activities that involve extreme flexion or extension of the hand and wrist for a prolonged period of time can increase pressure on the nerve.
- Pregnancy - Hormonal changes during pregnancy can cause swelling.
- Health conditions - Diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, and thyroid gland imbalance are associated with carpal tunnel syndrome.
The symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome often begin gradually and they may come and go at first. As the condition worsens, symptoms may occur more frequently or persist for longer periods of time.
Symptoms can include:
- Numbness, tingling, burning, and pain primarily in the thumb and index, middle, and ring fingers
- Pain or tingling from the forearm to the shoulder
- Occasional shock-like sensations to the thumb as well as index, middle, and ring fingers
- Weakness and clumsiness in the hand
- Dropping things due to weakness, numbness, or loss of proprioception
How Can Physical Therapy Help?
Peak Physical Therapy can help by improving the range of motion, muscle length, strength, and mobility of the nerves at the wrist to decrease pressure on the nerve. Your Physical Therapist will give advice on ergonomics and proper positioning to reduce the change of injury.
Peak Physical Therapy
Our four convenient locations give you greater access to the South Shore's best physical therapy services. The locations include Norwell, MA, Scituate, MA, Quincy, MA, and Hanover, MA. Our state-of-the-art facilities include access to the best treatments and equipment to ensure a fast recovery. We've even expanded our facilities to include access to therapy pools as well as indoor sports fields. If you're unsure whether physical therapy can help you, we offer a no-obligation FREE injury screening. Click here for more information.
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