Over 11.5 million Americans suffer from carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS). The primary symptom associated with CTS is numbness of the fingers. Unfortunately, this numbness is only one of the negative effects associated with the condition. A decrease in hand function, along with decreased strength, are also symptoms of CTS.
But how does this happen?
CTS is a common overuse condition. Symptoms typically occur when the median nerve (the nerve that travels through the bony passageway in your wrist) receives pressure from swollen tissue. If left untreated, CTS can cause permanent nerve damage (and a nagging – as well as constant – pain).
Do not lose hope: you can prevent CTS.
Many times CTS can be brought on by repetitive processes that put strain on your wrists (e.g., typing at a computer for many hours, daily). Many people benefit from ergonomically designed keyboards that minimize pressure at the weakened area. You can help prevent acquiring CTS by stretching and taking breaks often. It’s also suggested that a healthy diet and regular physical activity can prevent CTS.
But what if you already suffer from CTS? Well, there’s hope here too.
Treatment may include any of the following:
- Use of a splint to reduce discomfort
- Heat/cold treatment for pain relief
- Stretch and strengthening exercises
Physical Therapy should be able to help treat the most common symptoms of CTS. However, there are some severe conditions that require surgical consultation. It is important to communicate with your physical therapist about the level of discomfort you are experiencing to help determine next steps.
Questions about carpal tunnel syndrome? Contact us!