Carpal tunnel syndrome negatively affects the function of your hands. Left untreated, it can lead to permanent nerve damage. While some people require surgery to treat the symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome, there are also nonsurgical treatment options, including Summit physical therapy, that can also offer relief.
Why Carpal Tunnel Syndrome Occurs
In each of your arms, you have an inch-wide opening between the carpal bones, or the bones of your wrist. The name for this opening is the carpal tunnel, and it allows blood vessels and nerves to supply your hands and fingers.
If something happens to constrict the carpal tunnel, it can put pressure on the median nerve, which supplies feeling and motor signals to the first three fingers of your hand. Carpal tunnel syndrome is the name for the symptoms that result.
Some people naturally have smaller, narrower wrists and are at greater risk for developing carpal tunnel syndrome sometime in their lives. Repetitive hand use and certain health conditions, such as rheumatoid arthritis and diabetes, can cause swelling in the wrists that puts pressure on the median nerve.
How Carpal Tunnel Affects You
Pressure on the median nerve prevents nerve signals from reaching the first three fingers of the hand. As a result, you may experience symptoms of numbness and tingling in these fingers. You may also have pain that extends up into the forearms.
Disruption of the motor signals to your hand and fingers may affect your ability to move. You may experience weakness in the hand. This can cause you to drop things. Over time, you may notice visible atrophy in your hands and fingers. In other words, your muscles may start wasting away to the point where you can see them getting smaller.
What Physical Therapy Can Do To Help
When you go to Redmond physical therapy for carpal tunnel syndrome, a therapist can teach you nerve glide exercises. These are exercises to relieve pressure on your median nerve by helping it to move more freely within the carpal tunnel. This is a common nonsurgical treatment for carpal tunnel syndrome.
Your therapist may also be able to fit you for night splints. These devices hold your hand in a certain position while you sleep to relieve pressure on your median nerve.
It is possible that your physical therapist may also try modalities to relieve pain and symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome. For example, iontophoresis uses electrical impulses to carry anti-inflammatory medication through the skin directly to the swollen soft tissues surrounding the carpal tunnel. This can help bring the swelling down. Cryotherapy, or using icing to reduce swelling, is another possible modality that your therapist could use to relieve your symptoms.
Every case of carpal tunnel syndrome is different. Your therapist will develop a treatment plan based on your unique symptoms and goals.
Where To Find Right PT
Not every physical therapist starts out by saying, “I am going to look for physical therapy jobs near me to treat carpal tunnel syndrome.” As you explore treatment options, you should look specifically for a therapist who has training and experience in treating your condition.
Your doctor may know of a physical therapist who treats carpal tunnel syndrome. You can ask for a referral.