Treatment of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome Can Be Successful
At Monmouth Pain & Rehabilitation, our approach to Carpal Tunnel Syndrome is multidisciplinary. The proper diagnosis is the first step. Our Facility Director is Board Certified in Electrodiagnostic Studies and can perform a nerve conduction study to determine whether or not carpal tunnel syndrome is the accurate diagnosis. If carpal tunnel syndrome is diagnosed, then a program is implemented involving rehabilitation including Occupational Therapy, low level laser therapy, acupuncture, chiropractic, and physical therapy.
What is Carpal Tunnel Syndrome?
Carpal Tunnel Syndrome is a condition characterized by pain, numbness and tingling in the hands and fingers. This condition is caused by compression of the median nerve as it crosses the wrist. The median nerve travels from the middle of the neck and down to the fingers; specifically providing nerve supply to the thumb and index finger. Weakness of the hand can follow in more severe cases.
Causes of Carpal Tunnel
Carpal Tunnel Syndrome is caused most commonly from chronic repetitive use of the hands; particularly with the wrist in the extension position as is most commonly experienced while typing on a keyboard. Other types of repetitive uses can cause Carpal Tunnel Syndrome such as a new mother constantly holding her child’s car seat with a new born baby or holding a pan as a cook or chef.
How is Carpal Tunnel Syndrome Diagnosed?
Two orthopedic tests are commonly used to diagnose carpal tunnel syndrome. These tests are the Tinel’s Test and the Phalen’s Test. Physicians will perfom the Tinel’s Test by tapping on the involved side wrist on the palm side. The test is positive when the symptoms are magnified into the hand and fingers and/or when the patient experiences electrical pain and nerve sensations during the tapping.
During the Phalen’s Test, the patient forces their hands into a “reversed prayer” position where the back of the hands are touching and the fingers are pointing to the floor. The patient is asked to hold this position for up to a minute and reports any abnormal sensations. The test is positive when the symptoms in the hand or fingers magnify or if the patient experiences electrical or other abnormal types of sensations into the hand or fingers.
The gold standard test for carpal tunnel syndrome is called a nerve conduction study (NCS) and is performed by a physician board certified in Electrodiagnostic Studies. The NCS can tell right away whether someone has carpal tunnel syndrome as well as the severity of the carpal tunnel syndrome.
In some cases, symptoms mimicking carpal tunnel syndrome are actually coming from the neck and are caused from pinched nerves in the neck. Additionally, someone may have what is called the Double Crush Syndrome. Double Crush Syndrome is when the patient has both carpal tunnel syndrome and pinched nerves in the neck.
Mild to moderate cases of carpal tunnel syndrome are treated most effectively with rehabilitation using both physical therapy and chiropractic care. New technologies such as low-level cold laser therapy have some promising studies suggesting very good results from low-level laser therapy to treat carpal tunnel syndrome. Additionally, vibration therapy, ultrasound and rehabilitative exercises can provide long-lasting relief and correction to carpal tunnel syndrome.
Physical Therapy for Carpal Tunnel
A multi-disciplinary approach helps Carpal Tunnel Syndrome sufferers alleviate symptoms and restore strength and functioning. Physical Therapy is a major component of this type of treatment.
Understanding Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
Carpal Tunnel Syndrome is a condition characterized by pain, numbness, and tingling in the hands and fingers. It is caused by compression of the median nerve as it crosses the wrist. The median nerve runs from the middle of the neck down to the fingers, and is responsible for carrying both sensory and motor fibers. Compression of this nerve can therefore lead to both motor and sensory problems. Motor symptoms usually present as weakness in the hand, and typically occur in more severe cases of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome.
Chronic, repetitive use of the hands is the usual cause of compression of the median nerve. In particular, those who must perform repetitive motions with the wrist in the extension position (as when typing on a keyboard, for example) are at serious risk for the disorder. Virtually anyone who uses their hands in both a repetitive and forceful manner for long periods of time can experience Carpal Tunnel Syndrome.
Women are more likely to develop Carpal Tunnel Syndrome than men. Most likely, this is due to the fact that the median nerve is usually smaller in women than in men. For both genders, symptoms generally develop in the dominant hand first, and most sufferers experience more pain in this hand.
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