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Understanding Carpal Tunnel Syndrome: Causes, Symptoms, and Physiotherapy Solutions | Physio Pros Oakville

Introduction

Today, we shed light on a common yet often misunderstood ailment: Carpal Tunnel Syndrome (CTS). As your trusted physiotherapy center in Oakville, we’re committed to not only addressing symptoms but also educating and empowering individuals to manage and prevent such conditions.

What is Carpal Tunnel Syndrome?

Carpal Tunnel Syndrome (CTS) is a prevalent condition affecting the hand and wrist, often caused by compression of the median nerve as it travels through the narrow passageway called the carpal tunnel. This tunnel, located in the wrist, houses tendons and the median nerve responsible for sensation and movement in the hand and fingers.

In the United States, CTS affects 1–3 people per 1,000Trusted Source every year. Most people receive a CTS diagnosis between the ages of 40 and 60 years, and the prevalence increases with age. The condition can appear in one or both wrists. It is also more common in females than in males.

Without treatment, CTS can hurt a person’s quality of life. Eventually, the median nerve can become severely damaged. Consequently, there may be permanent numbness in the fingers and permanent weakness in the muscles that are innervated by the median nerve.

Reference: Medical News Today

carpel-tunnel-syndrome

Image Courtesy: Medical News Today

Causes:

Several factors can contribute to the development of CTS:

  1. Repetitive hand and wrist movements: Activities involving repetitive motions, such as typing, assembly line work, or prolonged use of vibrating tools, can increase the risk of CTS.
  2. Anatomy: Individuals with smaller carpal tunnels or certain anatomical variations may be more prone to CTS.
  3. Medical conditions: Conditions like diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, and thyroid disorders can predispose individuals to CTS.
  4. Pregnancy: Hormonal changes and fluid retention during pregnancy can lead to swelling and compression of the median nerve.

Symptoms:

Recognizing the signs of CTS is crucial for early intervention. Common symptoms include:

  1. Numbness or tingling in the thumb, index, middle, or ring fingers, often worsening at night.
  2. Weakness in the hand, making it difficult to grip objects or perform fine motor tasks.
  3. Pain or discomfort in the wrist or hand, radiating up the arm.
  4. Difficulty in distinguishing between hot and cold sensations in the affected fingers.

Physiotherapy Solutions:

At Physio Pros Oakville, we offer tailored treatment plans to alleviate CTS symptoms and improve hand and wrist function. Our approach includes:

  1. Splinting: Custom splints can help keep the wrist in a neutral position, reducing pressure on the median nerve and alleviating symptoms, especially at night.
  2. Therapeutic exercises: We prescribe specific exercises to strengthen the muscles in the hand and wrist, improving stability and reducing strain on the median nerve.
  3. Manual therapy: Hands-on techniques, such as soft tissue mobilization and joint mobilization, can help alleviate pain and improve flexibility in the wrist and surrounding tissues.
  4. Ergonomic modifications: We provide guidance on proper ergonomics and workstation setup to minimize repetitive strain on the wrist and prevent CTS recurrence.
  5. Education and self-management strategies: Empowering patients with knowledge about CTS, including lifestyle modifications and symptom management techniques, is integral to long-term success.

Prevention:

While CTS may not always be preventable, adopting certain habits can reduce the risk of developing this condition:

  1. Take frequent breaks from repetitive tasks involving the hands and wrists.
  2. Maintain good posture and wrist alignment during activities.
  3. Perform wrist stretches and exercises regularly to promote flexibility and strength.
  4. Use ergonomic tools and equipment designed to reduce strain on the wrists.
  5. Seek prompt medical attention if experiencing symptoms suggestive of CTS.

The Case Study

Michael R., a 45-year-old software developer, sought assistance from Physio Pros Oakville due to persistent numbness and tingling in his right hand, particularly during typing sessions at work. Following a thorough evaluation, Registered Physiotherapist Paul Wnuk diagnosed Michael with Carpal Tunnel Syndrome (CTS) exacerbated by repetitive wrist movements and prolonged computer use. Michael’s symptoms significantly hindered his work productivity and caused discomfort in his daily activities. Paul devised a tailored treatment plan to address Michael’s specific needs and alleviate his symptoms effectively.

Effectiveness of Paul’s Approach: Paul’s treatment approach for Michael’s CTS was multifaceted and highly effective. Recognizing the importance of addressing both symptom management and prevention, Paul recommended a custom splint to be worn during Michael’s work hours to maintain proper wrist alignment and alleviate pressure on the median nerve. Additionally, Paul incorporated targeted therapeutic exercises to strengthen the muscles surrounding the wrist and improve flexibility, enhancing Michael’s ability to perform daily tasks with ease.

Moreover, Paul provided hands-on manual therapy techniques to alleviate pain and tension in Michael’s wrist, promoting healing and restoring function. Recognizing the ergonomic challenges in Michael’s workplace, Paul offered valuable advice on workstation setup and recommended ergonomic tools to minimize strain on the wrist during typing sessions. Through Paul’s personalized approach and ongoing support, Michael experienced significant relief from his symptoms and gained confidence in managing his condition effectively, ultimately improving his overall quality of life and work performance.

Conclusion:

Carpal Tunnel Syndrome can significantly impact daily life and productivity, but with proper management and preventive measures, individuals can find relief and regain function. At Physio Pros Oakville, we’re dedicated to helping you overcome CTS and achieve optimal hand and wrist health. Contact us today to schedule a consultation and take the first step towards a pain-free future.

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Josh Bowslaugh
Josh Bowslaugh
Josh completed his Master of Science in Physiotherapy degree in the UK (2020), where he spent time working in Orthopedics, Neurology, and with his local professional football club: Oxford United. Previously, he pursued two degrees from Brock University: a Bachelor of Kinesiology and a Master of Science in Health Sciences (muscle physiology). As a registered Kinesiologist, Josh has worked in the health field for many years and has completed several continuing educational courses under renowned clinician Dr. Craig Liebenson. These courses focused on developing client-centered rehabilitation programs using the latest evidence in pain science, load management, and behavior-change therapy. Josh has recently been rostered for acupuncture & dry needling, and spinal manipulation as a part of his therapeutic practice.
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