Carpal Tunnel

Carpal Tunnel

June 5, 2023

The Carpal Tunnel is the passage in the wrist created by the carpal bones on three sides with a ligament covering as the roof.  Through this crowded tiny space, nine tendons pass, as well as the median nerve. 

These tendons help you bend your wrist and fingers.    Any inflammation in the carpal tunnel will cause the median nerve to be compressed, thus resulting in carpal tunnel syndrome.  The median nerve goes on to the thumb, forefinger, middle finger and half of the ring finger.  This is the reason for the burning, tingling feelings and for the numbness and the pain.

It is important to know that the wrist is the slimmest part of the human body.  Slim wrists have been considered a sign of beauty for centuries, but people with smaller wrists, it is now known are at higher risk for carpal tunnel syndrome.

The degree of the nerve compression will dictate how long it can take for someone to respond to treatment.  Some patients have mild problems and can be fixed in 1-4 weeks; others take longer.

Repetitive Strain

Avoid Repetitive Strain Injuries while working at the computer.  The best thing you can do is make sure you take adequate breaks.  A break every thirty minutes can do wonders.  This is especially important if you have any tingling or pins and needles sensation in your palm, because these are the first signs of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome.  There are specific stretches to do during these breaks.

Wrist Stretches

The first stretch is called the Prayer Stretch.  Simple start with your hands in a prayer position and slowly as tolerated bring palms down and hold for 10 seconds, 3x a day.

The second stretch is wrist extension.  It is holding your arm out straight and slowly bringing your palm back with the opposite hand as tolerated for a 10 second hold, 3x a day.

One of the most effective home treatments, is the median nerve glide, which involves gentle bending and straightening of the fingers without bending or straightening of the wrist.  This may help because it moves the median nerve and tendons that go through the carpal tunnel.  This helps to reduce swelling and some of the pressure on the nerves because it pumps out fluid from the carpal tunnel.

Surgery May Not Be The Answer

Surgery does not always fix the problem of carpal tunnel syndrome.  “Only 23% of all Carpal Tunnel Syndrome patients were able to return to their previous professions following surgery.”  Source: NIOSH

“Carpal Tunnel Syndrome surgery has about a 57% failure rate following patients from 1-day to 6-years.  At least one of the following symptoms re-occurred during this time: Pain, Numbness, Tingling sensations.”  Source: Nancollas, et al, 1995. J. Hand Surgery.

Steroid (Cortisone) Injection Statistic: Failure rate (Including “partial success” as failure) is 72.6% after 1-year follow up.  Source: Irwin, et al. J Hand Surgery.

Try the home exercises first.  If you continue to experience pain, numbness, and tingling contact us.  There is a break through treatment available for carpal tunnel syndrome.  At Flex Physical Therapy we implement a revolutionary treatment method for Carpal Tunnel Syndrome that offers immediate wrist and hand pain relief using no needles, no drugs and no surgery!  This treatment is so cutting edge, you will not find this anywhere else in the Council Bluffs area.  Call us today at 712-256-1800 to learn more!

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