Reduce Carpal Tunnel Symptoms with Physical Therapy Treatments
What is Carpal Tunnel Syndrome (CTS)?
Carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS) is a condition that causes numbness, tingling, burning sensations, and weakness in the hand, wrist, arm, and fingers. Surgery is a standard solution for those who suffer from severe CTS. However, physical therapy has proven to help reduce carpal tunnel symptoms.
Carpal Tunnel Causes and Risk Factors
CTS develops when the median nerve, one of the hand’s primary nerves, is exposed to pressure. As a result, the median nerve becomes compressed as it travels through a narrow passageway in the wrist called the carpal tunnel. Inflammation of tendons and nerves is one of the main causes of CTS, leading to discomfort, pain, and weakness in the upper extremities.
Carpal tunnel syndrome is common among people who suffer from the following:
- Thyroid Disorders
- Hypertension or High Blood Pressure
- Rheumatoid Arthritis
- History of wrist fractures or trauma
Studies have shown that people who overwork their hands and wrists are more likely to develop CTS over time. Electricians, construction workers, assembly-line workers, administrative employees, food processors, and apparel manufacturers are some of the many occupations that pose a higher risk of developing CTS.
Physical Therapy and Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
Physical therapists develop treatment plans to help reduce carpal tunnel syndrome symptoms. In fact, practicing physical therapy stretches for CTS is a proactive way to minimize carpal tunnel symptoms from developing.
Some effective physical therapy treatments for carpal tunnel syndrome include:
- Stretching exercises
- Strength training
- Heat and cold compression treatments
- Resistance training
- Splint support
Research indicates how successful stretching exercises and strength training can be in naturally reducing the symptoms of CTS. In addition, physical therapy is almost always a part of the recovery process if you and your physician decide to engage in surgery for carpal tunnel syndrome.
With the proper education and training, patients will be able to improve upper extremity mobility and, more importantly, learn how to live with CTS in a way that maximizes function and reduces pain and discomfort.
Speak to your physician to determine if carpal tunnel physical therapy treatments are suitable for symptoms. Additionally, you can speak about what at-home stretching techniques you can do to help manage your CTS. The American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons has many resources available to help educate you on how to live better with CTS.
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