By Sukie Nau, DPT/Owner, Nau Physical Therapy & Wellness
If you suffer from carpal tunnel syndrome, you know the symptoms:
o Numbness, tingling, burning, and pain—primarily in the thumb and index, middle, and ring fingers.
o Occasional shock-like sensations that radiate to the thumb and index, middle, and ring fingers.
o Pain or tingling that may travel up the forearm toward the shoulder.
But you may not know you may be able to treat carpal tunnel sybdrome with physical therapy.
Physical therapy – particularly manual therapy – improves hand and wrist function and reduces pain as effectively as a standard operation for the condition. Ultrasound, the use of high frequency vibrations, also decreases symptoms.
After one month of treatment, physical therapy patients report better results than those who undergo surgery.
You can also make changes at work, home, and in your leisure time to help reduce your symptoms. For example, a special hand-traction device can help make your carpal tunnel area larger through stretching.
One of the best exercises for carpal tunnel include the wrist flexor stretch:
o Extend your arm in front of you with your palm up.
o Bend your wrist, pointing your hand toward the floor.
o With your other hand, gently bend your wrist farther until you feel a mild to moderate stretch in your forearm.
o Hold for at least 15-30 seconds. Repeat 2-4 times.
Here are other suggestions for carpal tunnel relief:
1). Take breaks from repetitive tasks
2). Wear splints on your wrists
3). Lighten up
4). Mind your flexion
5). Stay warm
6). Stretch it out
7). Elevate your hands and wrists whenever possible.
Physical therapy helps relieve the pain of carpal tunnel syndrome without all the extra pain and extended healing time of surgery.
For more information, or to schedule a free consultation, call our office today.