Managing Carpal Tunnel Syndrome Through Physiotherapy

man suffering pain in hand close up
Carpal Tunnel Syndrome is a distressing condition marked by pain, numbness, and tingling sensation in the hand and fingers, often caused by median nerve compression within the wrist’s carpal tunnel. Physiotherapy in Edmonton offers a range of non-invasive treatments that can significantly alleviate these symptoms and improve hand function.

How Physiotherapy Helps in Managing Carpal Tunnel Syndrome?

Physiotherapy stands out as a beacon of relief for those struggling with Carpal Tunnel Syndrome (CTS). It’s not just about offering a temporary fix; it dives deep into the root of the problem, aiming to alleviate the pain and improve the functionality of your wrist and hand. Let’s explore how physiotherapy packs such a punch in managing CTS, providing a blend of relief, restoration, and prevention.

Stretching Exercises:

When it comes to easing the grip of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome (CTS), stretching exercises are a real game changer. They’re designed to loosen up the tight spaces around your carpal tunnel, giving your median nerve a little more room to move without so much squish. Stretching exercises specifically used to combat the symptoms of CTS:

Wrist Flexor Stretch:

This stretch is perfect for extending the muscles that tighten up on the inside of your forearm:
  • Extend your arm straight in front of you with your palm up.
  • Use your other hand to gently pull back on your fingers until you feel a stretch along the inside of your forearm.
  • Hold this position for 15-30 seconds.
  • Repeat 2-3 times for each hand.

Strengthening Exercises:

Strengthening exercises are equally crucial. They focus on the muscles of the hand and forearm, which can help support the wrist and reduce the workload on the median nerve. By building up muscle strength, the overall stability of the wrist improves, which can help maintain a healthier nerve position. Here are some effective strengthening exercises:

Grip Strengthening:

Strengthen the hand muscles and improve your grip:
  • Use a soft stress ball or a grip strengthener.
  • Squeeze the ball or strengthener with your whole hand, hold for a few seconds, then release.
  • Repeat 10-15 times, and do 2-3 sets.

Nerve Gliding Exercises:

One of the physiotherapy’s star techniques for CTS involves nerve gliding exercises. These movements are specifically crafted to aid in the uninhibited mobility of the median nerve within the carpal tunnel. Regular practice of nerve glides can reduce nerve stickiness and encourage smoother movement, which helps decrease irritation and inflammation associated with CTS. Common nerve gliding exercises used are:

Median Nerve Glides:

This exercise helps the median nerve move freely through the constraints of the carpal tunnel:
  • Start with your arm down at your side, elbow straight, and fingers together and straight.
  • Bend your wrist upward so your fingers point towards the sky.
  • Slowly close your fingers into a fist, then bend your wrist down towards the floor.
  • For added stretch, gently pull your fist towards you with your other hand.
  • Repeat this sequence 5-10 times, slowly and gently.

Manual Therapy:

Manual therapy is a cornerstone of physiotherapy for carpal tunnel treatment, focusing on hands-on techniques to ease symptoms and address the root causes of nerve compression. These methods are incredibly effective in improving the condition of the soft tissues and joints around the carpal tunnel. Here are some of the key manual therapy techniques used in managing CTS:

Wrist Joint Mobilization:

This technique helps correct misalignments and increase mobility within the wrist joints:
  • Grade I and II Mobilizations: These are gentle, rhythmic motions applied to the wrist joint to stimulate joint play and reduce carpal tunnel pain without stretching the tissues.
  • Grade III and IV Mobilizations: These involve deeper movements that stretch the joint capsule and ligaments, helping to restore normal range of motion and alignment.

Use of Modalities:

In managing Carpal Tunnel Syndrome (CTS), physiotherapists often incorporate various modalities into treatment plans to enhance outcomes, particularly by reducing inflammation, pain, and swelling. These modalities complement manual therapy and exercise by targeting the tissues in more direct, cutting-edge methods. The modality used in the treatment of CTS is:

Electrical Stimulation:

Electrical stimulation can also be beneficial for CTS patients:
  • How It Works: This modality uses electrical currents to induce contraction in a single muscle or a group of muscles. This helps increase strength, but it can also encourage nerve and muscle function improvements and reduce swelling.
  • Application: Electrodes are placed on the skin over the affected area. The therapist adjusts the machine to deliver short pulses of electrical current that stimulate the muscles and nerves.

Ergonomic and Lifestyle Changes:

Physiotherapy in Edmonton doesn’t just stop at direct treatment methods. A significant part of managing CTS involves educating patients on ergonomic improvements and lifestyle changes. This might include advice on proper wrist and hand positioning at work, ergonomic tools that minimize stress on the wrist, and even simple adjustments to daily activities to reduce repetitive strain.

Ergonomic Adjustments:

Adjust Your Workstation:  Ensure that your desk, chair, and computer arrangement promote good posture. Your wrists should be in a neutral position when typing or using a mouse. Change Hand Use Patterns:  Try to alternate tasks throughout the day to avoid prolonged pressure on the median nerve. Switch hands frequently when performing household chores or other activities.

Empowering Relief: 

Physiotherapy in Edmonton is uniquely poised to not only alleviate the immediate discomfort associated with CTS but also to implement preventive strategies that mitigate the risk of recurrence. Ultimately, for those suffering from CTS, Family physiotherapy in Edmonton offers a vital solution that is both effective and sustainable. If you’re grappling with symptoms of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome, turning to physiotherapy could be the key to unlocking relief and regaining your hand’s functionality. 

Don’t let wrist pain hold you back any longer. Schedule a consultation with our physiotherapist today and discover how physiotherapy can transform your life.

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