Carpal Tunnel Syndrome: 3 Ways to Ease the Pain
Recently, we have been treating several patients that complain about pain, swelling or numb hands. Some of these patients confuse this with mommy thumb. We have covered this in a previous post. In this week’s blog, we share more about a slightly different condition, carpal tunnel syndrome, which can cause similar symptoms.
What is Carpal Tunnel Syndrome?
Carpal tunnel syndrome is a condition that affects the nerve. It is due to the compression of the median nerve when it travels through the carpal tunnel of the wrist. Unlike de Quervain’s tensynovitis (mommy thumb), this affects the nerve instead of the tendon of the thumb and wrist. Thus, on top of symptoms such as pain and swelling, there is also numbness usually involved.
What are the Symptoms?
– Gradual numbness/ tingling in the thumb, index finger, middle finger of the affected hand
– Burning pain
– Weakness of muscles near the thumb, index finger and middle finger of the affected hand
What Can Cause It?
Carpal tunnel syndrome is usually caused by the compression of the carpal tunnel itself. This is usually due to a multitude of factors such as:
– Overuse and high pressure on hands such as keyboards
– High vibration
– Trauma such as wrist injuries
3 Ways to Ease the Pain
Try these stretches that work on wrist extension and flexion. Hold the stretch for 30 seconds and you can do it 3-4 times a day.
Wearing a splint can support and immobilize the thumb and wrist. This is effective in helping to reduce swelling of the tendon and therefore allows for proper rest and recovery.
3. Professional Intervention
If the pain persists after trying a variety of self-treatment remedies, make an appointment with a hand specialist or orthopedic doctor or physiotherapist. Some stretching and strengthening exercises can be done to help the symptoms. In some extreme and rare cases, surgery is necessary but it’s usually a permanent fix.
Dealing with carpal tunnel syndrome can often be a tricky and tedious process, if you have any more questions, feel free to contact us to book an appointment with one of our physiotherapists for an assessment.
Page MJ, Massy-Westropp N, O’Connor D, Pitt V. Splinting for carpal tunnel syndrome. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2012 Jul 11;2012(7):CD010003. doi: 10.1002/14651858.CD010003. PMID: 22786532; PMCID: PMC7389822.
Sevy JO, Varacallo M. Carpal Tunnel Syndrome. [Updated 2020 Aug 10]. In: StatPearls [Internet]. Treasure Island (FL): StatPearls Publishing; 2021 Jan-. Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK448179/