PTRehab_Finding Relief from Carpal Tunnel and Hand Arthritis

SEPTEMBER 2019 The Therapy Bulletin The Newsletter About Your Health And Caring For Your Body

Finding Relief for

CARPAL TUNNEL & HAND ARTHRITIS Everything You Need to Know About CARPAL TUNNEL SYNDROME (continued from outside)

Carpal Tunnel Syndrome (CTS) is a collection of symptoms that affects people of all ages, but occurs more in women in the 30-64 age range. In addition, women who are pregnant, often suffer with CTS. If you type, write, do repetitive lifting or gripping throughout the day you are at greater risk for developing CTS. What Causes Carpel Tunnel Syndrome? The carpal ligament is a thick band of tissue around the bottom of your wrist, similar to a bracelet, and forms the top of the carpal tunnel. With repetitive movements, swelling or injury to the wrist, the carpal ligament can become tight, causing pressure onto the median nerve below, which travels through the carpal tunnel in the wrist. The median nerve supplies the sensation from your thumb, 1st, and 2nd fingertips. This is why people suffering with CTS feel numbness or tingling to these areas. If pressure on the nerve continues for too long, damage can occur to muscles controlling the hand and cause pain and burning sensations. Affecting approximately 1 out of every 20 Americans, CTS can also be caused by health conditions such as: • Previous injury to the wrist, including strains,

sprains, dislocations, and fractures. • Fluid retention, typically during pregnancy. • Use of medication, typically steroids. • Hormone or metabolic changes, including thyroid imbalances, pregnancy, and menopause. • Degenerative and rheumatoid arthritis. • Diabetes. Why Should I Choose Hand Therapy First? In severe cases, surgery may be a necessary step in the treatment of CTS. However, the key to preventing surgery is having therapy quickly when the symptoms start occurring. If pressure can be relieved to the nerve, the nerve has a chance to heal which greatly reduces the need for surgery. With surgery, comes known side effects and risks. Over 1/3 of patients are unable to return to school or work within 8 weeks after receiving the operation. In a study published by the Journal of Orthopaedic & Sports Physical Therapy, researchers decided to test whether more conservative treatments could be used in replacement of surgical procedures. The results were overwhelmingly positive. 100

women with CTS were studied and split evenly between those who had surgery and those who had hand therapy. The hand therapy patients were treated with manual therapy techniques, focusing on the median nerve, in addition to stretching exercises given by their therapists. After one month, they had much better function during their daily activities and demonstrated You can prevent your hands from becoming stiff and provide pain relief with these exercises: Spiders Doing Pushups: Begin with your hands clasped together in prayer position. Then spread your fingers apart as far as they can go. Next, create a triangle shape by separating your palms, but keeping your fingers together. Shake It Off: Shake out your hands, as if you have washed them and you’re trying to dry them. Deep Wrist Stretch: Stretch your arm straight in front, with your elbow locked and fingers pointing downward. Spread your fingers slightly and use your other hand to press down and apply gentle pressure to your wrist and fingers, slowly pushing them as far as they’ll go. Hold this position for 20 seconds. stronger grip strength overall. What Can I Do on My Own?

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