The Benefits of Physical Therapy for Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

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Carpal tunnel syndrome can be an incredibly debilitating condition that causes pain, numbness, and tingling around the hands, wrists, and fingers. If you have carpal tunnel syndrome, you may struggle to complete simple tasks, like opening a soda or replying to a text, without feeling overwhelming pain. 

Fortunately, physical therapy for carpal tunnel syndrome symptoms can offer some relief. Whether you’ve just noticed symptoms and are searching for a “physical therapist near me” or you’re recovering from carpal tunnel surgery, state-of-the-art treatment and technology can help.

Read on to learn how physical therapy can help with carpal tunnel syndrome. If you’re in Hudson County, you can also call one of Exchange Physical Therapy Group’s practice locations to schedule a consultation with an experienced physical therapist. First-class one-on-one physical therapy could help you regain the quality of life you’ve lost after wrist pain and more.

How Physical Therapy Can Help Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

Understanding Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

Carpal tunnel syndrome is a neurological disorder affecting the median nerve, which runs from the forearm to the palm of your hand. When something squeezes the nerve at your wrist joint, this tension causes pinched nerve symptoms in the hand, wrist, and fingers, such as:

  • Tingling
  • Numbness
  • Pain
  • Swelling

As the syndrome worsens, you may lose mobility, experience weakness, and struggle with non-stop pain. However, numerous factors can cause carpal tunnel syndrome, so it often takes time to diagnose. For example, it may arise after wrist joint trauma, pituitary or thyroid gland imbalances, rheumatoid arthritis, overuse of the joint, age, diabetes, and more. 

Unfortunately, women are three times more likely to develop carpal tunnel than men because of the fluid retention that can develop during pregnancy and menopause. Your medical provider will diagnose the condition using physical exams, X-rays, or various imaging tests. The treatment for carpal tunnel syndrome depends on the severity of your symptoms, though prompt treatment can help you prevent worsening nerve damage. 

Some primary treatment options often include the following:

  • Wrist splinting to stabilize the median nerve
  • Rest
  • Over-the-counter medications or prescription drugs for pain management
  • Hand exercises and physical therapy to rebuild joint strength and mobility
  • Carpal tunnel release surgery to relieve nerve pressure
  • Open-release surgery to correct the syndrome
  • Endoscopic surgery for faster recovery periods

The Benefits of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome PT Treatment

Physical therapy for carpal tunnel can reduce pain, improve mobility and strength, and prevent the need for surgery. Your therapist will first evaluate your impairments through a series of tests to provide you with the most adequate treatment plan. For instance, they might test your pain, range of motion, strength, and more.

After this initial assessment, your physical therapist may recommend splinting the joint or wearing a brace during the day to rest the nerve. A range of other recommendations could help you heal as quickly as possible, such as:

  • Simple changes to your daily routine to prevent worsening symptoms
  • Ultrasound high-frequency vibration devices to expedite healing
  • A hand-traction stretching device to increase flexibility
  • Electrical stimulation to decrease pain
  • Paraffin wax to increase blood circulation and reduce pain
  • Exercises to improve strength

Additionally, carpal tunnel gliding exercises can increase strength while reducing pain. Your physical therapist will teach you how to perform gliding exercises correctly for at-home exercises.

Physical Therapy Effectiveness According to Research

Interestingly, a research study in Madrid, Spain, found that manual physical therapy was even more effective in treating carpal tunnel syndrome in the short term than surgical intervention (it was equal to surgery in the medium and long term). If you want desirable outcomes without long healing processes, choose physical therapy. And even if your doctor recommends carpal tunnel surgery, physical therapy can still help with your recovery and rehabilitation. 

Seek Relief for Carpal Tunnel Pain—Schedule PT!

Whether you’re interested in physical therapy for carpal tunnel syndrome or rehab for rotator cuff surgery, physical therapists can help. Schedule an appointment with Exchange Physical Therapy Group at one of our New Jersey locations today!