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Carpal Tunnel Syndrome and Physical Therapy

Numbing and tingling pain in the palmar side of the hand, fingers and thumb can make typing, writing, and other use of the hand quite painful. Carpal tunnel syndrome is caused by a nerve that becomes compressed in the wrist area. The actual carpal tunnel is a very narrow passage within the wrist that is formed by small bones in a ligament. Tendons are also included in this area, and when the tendons swell the nerve becomes compressed.

With carpal tunnel syndrome, when the wrist is flexed or extended it can feel as if pain shooting through the arm. In severe forms of the syndrome, the affected individual’s grip decreases; this makes simple, everyday tasks extremely difficult. Physical therapy is an ideal way to alleviate the pain of carpal tunnel syndrome.

Methods of therapy can include gliding exercises (the movement of fingers in a specific pattern to ensure the tendons and the corresponding nerves glide effortlessly and without pain through the carpal tunnel), the Graston Technique (utilizes soft tissue ability), manual therapy (hands-on methods), ultrasound therapy, and traction. When the patient is not in therapy, wearing a brace that keeps the wrist in a specific position when typing or performing other tasks that constrain the wrist can help.

With the above methods of therapy accomplished by seeing a physical therapist regularly, the carpal tunnel syndrome may diminish. Physical therapy may help sufferers of this condition so that surgery may be avoided.

Mishock, John, PT, DPT, DC. “Physical Therapy: A Treatment Option for Carpal Tunnel Syndrome – Mishock Physical Therapy and Associates.” Mishock Physical Therapy and Associates RSS. 2012. Web. 30 May 2016. <>.

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