What is Carpal Tunnel Syndrome?
Carpal Tunnel Syndrome (CTS) is a very common condition and is becoming more frequent. The carpal tunnel is a narrow tunnel in the wrist where major arteries and nerves pass from the forearm into the wrist. One of the primary nerves that pass through this area is called the median nerve. When the ligaments around the carpal tunnel become tight, pressure is applied to the median nerve causing tingling, pain and even loss of sensation to the thumb and first two fingers of the hand.
One of the primary causes of carpal tunnel syndrome is poor posture and repetitive activities such as typing at a computer in the wrong position for many hours a day. The direct pressure on the wrist from the desk along with the repetitive movement of the fingers can lead to a tightening of the carpal tunnel ligaments.
Those at risk of developing carpal tunnel often have neck or shoulder problems on that side that lead to altered posture and movement of the arm. Since the median nerve exits from the neck and passes through the shoulder all the way down to your fingers, carpal tunnel is affected by the flexibility of the nerve higher up.
How physical therapy helps
Physical therapy is one of the first lines of defense in treating carpal tunnel syndrome. It is non-invasive and effective in eliminating symptoms and stopping them from returning.
Our physical therapy treatments focus on improving the mobility of the wrist and spacing of the carpal tunnel so the pressure is relieved on the median nerve. Hands on treatments mobilize tight joints and stretch tight ligaments. Ultrasound and other modalities can reduce deep swelling relieving pressure on the nerve. Finally, strengthening and range of motion exercises can support the wrist and maintain good posture, helping the normal function of the median nerve.
We also focus on long-term results by training you on specific exercises to perform at home and work. Additionally, we train you on proper postural technique to prevent future reoccurrences. Call us today to discover how we can effectively treat your carpal tunnel syndrome.
About Nerve Injuries
There are many nerves traveling along the elbow, forearm, wrist and hand. With injuries to the hand, wrist, forearm or elbow, nerve damage can result. Symptoms may be mild such as mild numbness, tingling or abnormal temperature feelings. In severe cases, muscle function and paralysis can occur.
Many nerve injuries occur because of overuse and chronic swelling. This doesn’t allow proper circulation to flow to the nerves, affecting their functioning. Poor posture while doing common activities generally causes overuse injuries and chronic swelling. If you have significant nerve sensations into your arm, wrist or hand, it is important to follow up with us and your physician.
How physical therapy helps
Physical therapy is very important to the healing aspect of nerve injuries. Whether mild from a small injury or severe after surgery, our experts work with you and your physician to facilitate your recovery.
The emphasis of physical therapy is on removing pressure from around the nerve by restoring normal tissue movement, joint movement and range of motion. Our hands-on therapy serves to soothe and improve circulation, while stimulating nerves to restore normal function. Call us today to discover how we help relieve your nerve pain and restore normal function.
What is Tennis Elbow?
Tennis elbow is a common term for lateral epicondylitis. You don’t have to play tennis to develop this condition, it actually happens frequently with repetitive tasks done in poor postural positions, such as typing at too high of a desk. The muscles that extend your wrist and fingers actually attach to the bony outside of your elbow.
Typically with tennis elbow, severe tenderness will be present around the bony area on the outside of the elbow. This can cause pain with gripping objects, lifting objects, twisting of the forearm and more.
What is Golfer’s Elbow?
Golfer’s elbow is a general term for medial epicondylitis. This is similar to tennis elbow (lateral epicondylitis), except that it is on the inside bony area of the elbow. Reasons for this occurring are similar to that of tennis elbow where there is an overuse of the muscles that flex your wrist and fingers. These muscle tendons attach to the inside elbow bony area, and overuse results in irritation.
How physical therapy helps
Tennis elbow and golfer’s elbow can be treated very effectively with physical therapy. Modalities such as ultrasound, heat and ice can assist with reducing swelling quickly in the irritated tendons. Furthermore, hands on therapy for the tissues and joints helps to restore normal joint movement, break up any scar adhesions in the tissue and bring circulation to the area to promote healing.
As the pain subsides, the focus is shifted to making sure your proper range of motion in the elbow and wrist are returned to normal. Gentle strengthening programs are started to help support the affected area and regain your strength. In addition, we educate you on proper posture and techniques to manage work and repetitive activities so the condition does not continue. Call us today to discover how we can help quickly relieve your tennis elbow or golfer’s elbow pain.