Carpal Tunnel Syndrome is one of the most common wrist and hand injuries today. We see this injury in office workers, gamers and students alike because of their posture while being at the computer. Here’s what to look out for and how to get pain treatment for CTS.
What Is Carpal Tunnel Syndrome?
Carpal Tunnel Syndrome is described as a feeling of numbness, pain, tingling and other hand or lower arm pain. The problem arises when there is pressure put onto the median nerve and the surrounding tendons in your wrist, all located in the Carpal Tunnel. This nerve not only affects your lower arm, wrist and hand, but also the thumb and the first three fingers. Although there are certain illnesses or conditions that can cause Carpal Tunnel Syndrome such as types of arthritis, hypothyroidism, diabetes and pregnancy, there is also a human use factor. If you’ve ever heard an office worker, student or video gamer complain about wrist pain and hand pain, it is likely because they have Carpal Tunnel Syndrome.
Carpal Tunnel Syndrome is common in office workers, students and gamers because of how they use their wrist. Typing at a keyboard, writing out notes, and using the same hand movements in gaming over and over can put significant amounts of strain on the wrist and hand. Using the same muscles in repetitive motions and having additional pressure on the wrist from having it bent downwards causes the tendons in the lower arm, wrist and hand to swell, causing pain.
Some Signs You May Have Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
Carpal Tunnel Syndrome can appear differently for people. While some experience tingling in their fingers, others may just experience weakness in their arm. There are also some that experience pain that runs between the elbow and the hand. The telltale sign for most people is the tingling in their thumb and first three fingers, but not the pinky (because it’s not controlled by the same nerve system). Although a doctor will ask about other underlying conditions, they will also test out your arm strength, hand strength, neck and shoulders. They may also choose to run nerve tests.
How Our Physiotherapists treat CTS
Pain treatment must be given to those with Carpal Tunnel Syndrome for relief. Although over-the-counter medications are a quick fix, it does not provide lasting pain treatment nor does it help your muscles to regain strength. At Absolute Rehab Centre, we use Massage Therapy as a pain treatment for Carpal Tunnel Syndrome. Our Massage Therapists will treat your CTS by working to break down scarred tissue in the forearm, wrist and hand while stretching out the muscles to increase the range of motion. This helps to relieve any tension on the median nerve and the tendons surrounding the area. Your massage therapist may also recommend for you to wear a wrist/ hand splint in the hours that you are not using your wrist actively. A splint will help to keep the wrist in a stable position so that you cannot put pressure on the tendons and further your CTS. It will also keep the wrist from slipping into repetitive motions that you may not realize you are doing. At Absolute Rehab, Carpal Tunnel Syndrome is treated in combination with the work we do at our office, but you must also take breaks and give your wrist and forearm relief at home.
Caring for Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
Although it can be difficult to keep your wrist and hand from doing repetitive movements depending on your job or hobbies, there are a few things to keep in mind when caring for your Carpal Tunnel Syndrome, and ways you can stretch out your wrist, hand and arm at home.
- If your job requires you to type or do a repetitive job with your wrist, make sure to take breaks every hour to stretch out your wrist and arm. Set timers to make sure you’re squeezing in these breaks because it will help your wrist from becoming fatigued and your muscles from being overworked
- If you are a student, make sure you are taking breaks throughout the day to stretch your muscles as well. It may not be possible to do during a class depending on how fast you need to take notes, but you can find an alternative to writing or typing, such as recording lectures.
- If you are a gamer, be aware of how long you’ve been playing. Every hour, make sure you are taking breaks, putting down the controller and moving away from the keyboard. Make sure you are stretching out your wrist, fingers and arm.
Some simple stretches you can do at home include:
- Rotating your wrist up and down to relieve stiffness
- Stretch your fingers out so there’s a large space between them, then relax your hand back into a flat position. This gives each finger a chance to stretch the tendons running through
- Gently push back each thumb for a gentle stretch. You can also push your fingertips together and apart for a deeper stretch in each finger.
- Put one hand out, straight in front of you with the palm facing towards the floor. Let your wrist bend your hand downwards. Use your other hand to gently push that wrist and hand into the forearm to feel a stretch in the arm. This helps stretch the extensor muscles in the hand and wrist.
- Put one hand out, straight in front with the palm facing towards the floor. Let your wrist bend your hand upwards. Use your other hand to gently pull back on that hand which will let you feel a stretch in the arm. This helps stretch the flexor muscles in the hand and wrist
Sometimes, you can also find relief from just shaking out your hands and wrists. It sounds silly, but it definitely makes a difference because it vibrates and loosens up the tendons. Lastly, try and ice your wrist area for 10-15 minutes each day. This will help reduce swelling in the median nerve and allow for better flow.
Carpal Tunnel Syndrome Pain Treatment
If you need pain treatment for Carpal Tunnel Syndrome, please contact Absolute Rehab Centre. As a leading physiotherapy and massage therapy provider in Waterloo, we have experience treating patients with CTS at varying degrees. Don’t wait in pain any longer no matter your career or hobby. It is a treatable condition and patients have shown positive results with our pain treatments.
For more information or to book a Massage Therapy appointment with a therapist at Absolute Rehab Centre, please call us today. We would love to get you on the road to recovery so you can use your wrist, hand and arm without pain while doing your everyday activities.