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  • Writer's picturePursuit of Motion

Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

"Carpal tunnel syndrome is the most common nerve entrapment neuropathy.”

— Physiopedia

What's Carpal Tunnel Syndrome?

Do you experience numbness or tingling in your thumb and fingers? Does it get worse when you grip objects? These could be signs of carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS).

Carpal tunnel syndrome accounts for 90% of all neuropathies, making it the most common nerve entrapment neuropathy. The term neuropathy refers to damage or disruption of one or more nerves. This can result for various reasons, but in the case of CTS it results due to entrapment of the median nerve.

The median nerve runs down your arm and enters the hand through your wrist, to supply the thumb, pointer and middle finger. When CTS develops, it is due to the median nerve being compressed as it travels through the wrist’s carpal tunnel.

Causes & Symptoms

The most common cause of CTS is genetic predisposition and repetitive wrist movements such as typing, writing, or job related tasks such as working with tools and machinery.

Other causes include osteoarthritis, trauma, or masses in the wrist that compress the nerve. In most cases, the cause of CTS is multifactorial and not due to just one cause.

Due to the distribution of the median nerve in the hand, symptoms of CTS affect the thumb, pointer finger, the middle finger, and possibly the ring finger.

Symptoms include numbness and tingling into these fingers and hand, and you may also feel an electric shock sensation into your hand. This symptom can travel from the wrist up into the hand, particularly when you are gripping objects, or right when you wake up.

CTS may also cause weakness of your thumb muscles, which can limit your ability to grip objects. Interference with your daily activities may be due to the numbness or weakness you experience, but good news! Physiotherapy can be an effective treatment of CTS!

Carpal Tunnel Syndrome & Physiotherapy

One important way for physiotherapy to address CTS is through modification of activities and the workplace. These modifications can be used to control milder symptoms of CTS. By reducing improper repetitive movements and improving the ergonomics of your workplace setup, we can work with you to help manage and reduce your symptoms.

Manual therapy techniques can also be used to help with CTS, along with exercises or stretches to target the cause of your symptoms.

In cases where CTS cannot be resolved with treatment, surgical intervention might be considered. We can help you better understand your options and provide you education on why you are experiencing symptoms. If you are experiencing numbness, tingling or weakness in your hands, we can help you better understand why!

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