Wrist Pain - Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

What is carpal tunnel syndrome?

This is a condition where the median nerve, one of the nerves supplying the muscles of the hand, gets pinched at wrist level. This nerve, along with all the tendons of the muscles responsible for the movement of the hand, runs through a “tunnel” that covers the inside of the wrist. The nerve gets pinched if there is swelling and the space in the carpal tunnel diminishes. 

Various things can cause the swelling, like:

- Illnesses such as rheumatoid arthritis, diabetes and hypothyroidism

- Repetitive strain of the tendons surrounding the nerve

- Pregnancy

What are the symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome?

This condition can occur with or without wrist or fore-arm pain. The most common symptom, however, is a tingling sensation in the hand, thumb, index finger, middle finger and half of the ring finger (a different nerve supplies the little finger).

How can physiotherapy help you?

False carpal tunnel symptoms can present in the presence of neck problems, so a thorough examination is required. Physiotherapy can help in the following ways:

- Pain management and anti-inflammatory treatments

- Soft tissue mobilisation of muscles, connective tissue and tendons around the area

- Neural mobilisation of the median nerve

- Stretches of the muscles and neural tissue

- Re-education of the muscles and wrist and elbow stabilisers

- Advice and education on prevention and management