Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

What is carpal tunnel syndrome?
Carpal tunnel syndrome is a condition in which the median nerve is squeezed where it passes through the wrist. This often happens because the tendons in the wrist have become swollen and they press on the nerve. The median nerve controls some of the muscles that move the thumb and it carries information back to the brain about sensations in your thumb and fingers. When the nerve is squeezed it can cause pain, aching, tingling or numbness in the affected hand. The symptoms tend to be worse at night  and may disturb your sleep, but you may notice it most when you wake up in the morning. Hanging your hand out of bed or shaking it around will often relieve the pain and tingling. You may not notice the problem at all during the day, though certain activities – such as writing, typing, DIY or housework – can bring on symptoms.  Sometimes the condition can be mistaken for something else. For example, pressure on nerves in the neck due to disc problems or arthritis can cause similar symptoms. A nerve conduction test may help if there’s any doubt about the diagnosis.

What causes carpal tunnel syndrome?
Carpal tunnel syndrome is a common problem. It’s often caused by work-related activities, such as typing, and repetitive movements, although some cases may  be related to arthritis of the wrist, thyroid disease and pregnancy. Your risk of developing it may be greater if your job places heavy demands on your wrist or if you use vibrating tools.

What can be done to help?
If there’s a particular cause, like an under active thyroid or arthritis, treating that condition may help. Other treatment will depend on how severe the nerve compression is. It’s important to get help quickly if your hand muscles are weak.

Splints:
Wearing a resting splint can help prevent the symptoms occurring at night, or a working splint can be useful if your symptoms are brought on by particular activities.  Your doctor or physiotherapist can advise on where you can be fitted with a splint. Steroid injections To reduce inflammation, your doctor or a specialist physiotherapist can give you a steroid injection into your carpal tunnel. The injection may be uncomfortable, but the effects can last for weeks or months. A steroid injection into the wrist joint itself may help if you have arthritis in your wrist. Your pain should ease within 2 weeks and you should recover over approximately a 4–6 week period. You should use the exercises overleaf for at least 6–8 weeks to help prevent symptoms returning.

Download this leaflet for general information about carpal tunnel syndrome and simple exercises that may help. It explains the causes of carpal tunnel syndrome and what can be done to help (for example: splints and steroid injections) It contains exercises which may help to ease the pain of carpal tunnel syndrome and prevent future injuries. http://www.csp.org.uk/sites/files/csp/secure/2_carpal_tunnel.pdf

At Therapy-First we offer FREE consultation, call us and have a chat with one of the team members if you need help with Carpal Tunnel Syndrome.
Jaz: Mobile – 07546 767 067 / info@therapy-first.co.uk
Michal: Mobile – 07742 873 114 / michal@Therapy-First.co.uk

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