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Carpal Tunnel

Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

 

Carpal tunnel syndrome is the most common neuropathy in Australia. It occurs in 1 in 1000 men and 4 in 1000 women.

 

What is the Carpal Tunnel?

The carpal tunnel is a rigid tube through your wrist made of bone and collagen. The median nerve runs from the forearm into the hand through the middle of this tube along with tendons for the hand.

 

What is the cause of CTS?

CTS results when the median nerve becomes pressed or squeezed at the wrist. This is most likely due to the fact that some people have a smaller carpal tunnel than others.

Other contributing factors include trauma or injury to the wrist that causes swelling (eg fracture), overactivity of the pituitary gland, hypothyroidism, rheumatoid arthritis, work stress, repetitive use of vibrating tools, fluid retention during pregnancy or menopause, or the development of a cyst or tumor in the canal. In some cases, no cause can be identified.

 

What are the symptoms of CTS?

Waking in the night is the most common symptom for CTS. People with CTS report waking with painful, numb, tingling or shaking hands. Other common symptoms include: numbness or decreased sensation usually in the fingers; clumsiness with everyday tasks such as driving, clipping earrings or tying shoes; and occasionally poor distinction between hot and cold.

 

Who is at risk?

Women are more likely than men to develop CTS. The dominant hand is usually affected first and is the most painful. People with diabetes are more likely to develop CTS as well as people in repetitive strain jobs such as production line work, machinists etc. CTS almost always occurs exclusively in adults.

Treatments available

Treatment for CTS should start as early as possible under the direction of your GP or specialist.

Conservative treatment includes treating the underlying cause such as diabetes or arthritis; resting from aggravating activities; sometimes a night splint is used to avoid twisting or bending of the wrist during sleep; ice packs can help to reduce swelling; medication prescribed and managed by your Doctor; exercises from your Doctor or physiotherapist; alternative therapies such as acupuncture, dry needling and Yoga.

 

Surgery can be performed to release the carpal tunnel and is generally only performed if symptoms last for 6 months. Surgery involves severing the band of tissue around the wrist to reduce pressure on the median nerve. This is usually performed under local anaesthetic and does not require an overnight hospital stay. Physiotherapy is required post surgery to restore wrist and hand mobility and strength.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Carpal Tunnel Syndrome (CTS)

 

Carpal tunnel syndrome is the most common neuropathy (nerve pain) in Australia. It occurs in 1 in 1000 men and 4 in 1000 women.

 

What is the Carpal Tunnel?

The carpal tunnel is a passageway of rigid tube in your wrist made of bone and connective tissue. The median nerve runs from the forearm into the hand through the middle of this tube along with other tendons for the hand.

 

What is the cause of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome?

CTS results when the median nerve becomes pressed or squeezed at the wrist. This is usually because some people have a smaller carpal tunnel than others.

 

Other contributing factors include trauma or injury to the wrist that causes swelling (eg fracture or sprain), work stress, repetitive use of vibrating tools, fluid retention during pregnancy or menopause, overactivity of the pituitary gland, hypothyroidism, rheumatoid arthritis, or the development of a cyst or tumor in the canal. In some cases, no cause can be identified.

 

What are the symptoms of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome?

Waking in the night is the most common symptom for Carpal Tunnel Syndrome. People with Carpal Tunnel Syndrome report waking with painful, numb, tingling or shaking hands. Other common symptoms include: numbness or decreased sensation usually in the fingers; clumsiness with everyday tasks such as driving, clipping earrings or tying shoes; and occasionally poor distinction between hot and cold.

 

Who is at risk?

Women are more likely than men to develop CTS. The dominant hand is usually affected first and is the most painful. People with diabetes are more likely to develop CTS as well as people in repetitive strain jobs such as production line

work, machinists etc. CTS almost always occurs exclusively in adults.

 

Diagnosis

Your physiotherapist or GP will take a thorough history and perform some basic tests in a physical examination to reach or exclude a diagnosis of CTS. Sometimes, it is necessary to be referred to a specialists for further tests to see how well the nerves are condutcting impulses.

Treatments available

Treatment for CTS should start as early as possible under the direction of your GP, physiotherapist or specialist.

 

Conservative treatment includes; resting from aggravating activities; use of a night splint to avoid twisting or bending of the wrist during sleep; ice packs can help to reduce swelling; medication prescribed and managed by your Doctor; exercises from your physiotherapist; alternative therapies such as acupuncture, dry needling and Yoga. For more information, please feel free to contact us and talk to a physiotherapist.

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