elderly person with wrist pain

Carpal Tunnel Syndrome is caused by inflammation of tendons that surround the Carpal Tunnel. This inflammation presses down on the median nerve, which limits proper connection of signals from the brain to the median nerve ends.

This can result in numbness or tingling within the inside of the hand and fingers. Sometimes, the pain can even radiate upwards from the arm. Often, a feeling of burning or itchiness can accompany the numbness. Swollen fingers are also not uncommon. General muscle weakness within the hand area is also commonplace, too.

If you’ve ever had pain in your wrist, chances are you thought it was Carpal Tunnel Syndrome. It’s a well-known disorder that affects millions of Americans. However, there is a lot of misinformation that is out there regarding it.

Schedule An Appointment Today

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

Interior view of hand with carpal tunnel

How Does the Wrist Work?

In order to understand how complex this disorder becomes, you need to understand the basic mechanics of the wrist and how it works. Despite it’s small size, the wrist is outrageously complex. It is comprised of multiple elements, including:

Carpal Bones

The wrist is, essentially, a giant joint in the hand. There are eight bones , known as carpals that are unique to just the wrist. There are also the five metacarpals that form the fingers as well as the radius and ulna bones connecting at the wrist as well.

The carpals form the basic function of providing structure to the wrist. By forcing the wrist into a round shape, this allows the concave shape of the radius, ulna, and its articular disk to fit nicely.

Ligaments

Simply put, ligaments connect skeletal structures together. Ligaments are made of a fibrous connective tissue which joins bones, cartilage, and joints together. Ligaments keep the skeleton aligned and in shape for movement.

There are four ligaments found within the wrist. Together, these four allow the wrist (and subsequently, the hand) to move. The ligaments allow your wrist to move up and down, around, and also provide limited movement side to side.

Nerves

Nerves are what make movement. The nerves communicate from the brain to the extremities of the body, telling in exact details what to do. If you want to move your hand, your nerves send an electrical pulse to your hand, creating movement.

Within the wrist are also three crucial nerves: the radial, ulnar, and the median nerve. The median nerve is the problematic nerve in Carpal Tunnel Syndrome cases. This nerve happens to run from the palm of the hand to the forearm. The median nerve provides feeling to the inner sides of the fingers and thumb. This nerve also provides limited movement for muscles within the hand.

The median nerve, along with the radial and ulnar nerves, are encased within the Carpal Tunnel. The Carpal Tunnel is a small section of bone that houses certain ligaments and blood vessels as well. The Carpal Tunnel can be found on the palm side of your wrist.

Carpal Tunnel Swelling and Irritation

What are the Symptoms?

Carpal Tunnel Syndrome is caused by inflammation of tendons that surround the Carpal Tunnel. This inflammation presses down on the median nerve, which limits proper connection of signals from the brain to the median nerve ends.

This can result in numbness or tingling within the inside of the hand and fingers. Sometimes, the pain can even radiate upwards from the arm. Often, a feeling of burning or itchiness can accompany the numbness. Swollen fingers are also not uncommon. General muscle weakness within the hand area is also commonplace, too.

Does Typing Too Much Cause Carpal Tunnel Syndrome?

Because of the location of the Carpal Tunnel, many assume that constant pressure on the wrist due to constant typing can cause Carpal Tunnel Syndrome. This has led many to invest in huge ergonomic overhauls in offices across the globe.

There is actually little data which proves this true. In fact, manual laborers or assembly line workers are far more inclined to develop Carpal Tunnel Syndrome. People that work in “office jobs” are less likely to develop the disorder.

This does not mean work ergonomics are any less important. In fact, excellent posture, along with straight wrists, properly placed computer keyboards, and well placed monitors can help alleviate symptoms. By making the muscles work less, you can help reduce inflammation and swelling within the wrists.

Carpal Tunnel Syndrome and Typing

How to Avoid Carpal Tunnel

Like a good many injuries, immediate Carpal Tunnel Syndrome prevention can begin by stopping strenuous activities. Doing hard activities puts strain on muscles and tendons. Ending these activities reduces the risk of tendon inflammation. General vigilance about physical activity can help prevent many Carpal Tunnel Syndrome cases.

However, many people can also be genetically predisposed to this condition. No matter the care they take, they could fall victim to this disorder. Simply by being born with smaller Carpal Tunnels, they are set up with the possibility of having pain in their futures.

Carpal Tunnel Solutions

Even if you are predisposed to suffer from Carpal Tunnel Syndrome, you can still utilize basic tools in easing symptoms. Through a little bit of education and minimal, but regular, attention, your symptoms will begin to ease.

Upon diagnosis, it’s a great idea to look at your daily routine. How is your diet? Are you getting enough exercise? Maintaining a healthy lifestyle seems like an obvious suggestion, but through immediate implementation, you can start relieving the pain.

In conjunction with better diet and exercise, there are smaller tasks you can do to reduce symptoms. For instance, application of cold temperatures to your wrist is strongly encouraged. For Carpal Tunnel Syndrome sufferers, this is a bit more involved. It is suggested that applying ice one to two times each hour can help ease inflammation in the wrist. This should begin to allow feeling in your inside hand and fingers and reduce pain.

You can also wear a wrist splint when you go to sleep. Carpal Tunnel Syndrome symptoms flare up most in the morning. Wearing a wrist splint can help minimize these symptoms by fixing your wrist in place. This alleviates pressure being applied on the medial nerve in the Carpal Tunnel. Keeping the wrist straight in all activities is a great help when addressing this pain.

If pain persists, anti-inflammatory drugs such as ibuprofen are a great addition. Using anti-inflammatory drugs along with the previous suggestions can provide for great relief. Long term use is discouraged, as serious health risks could arise. In the short term, it can be very helpful.

In very rare occasions, Carpal Tunnel Syndrome pain can require surgery. If you are utilizing all the methods, but the pain is still persistent, then you will need to speak with a physician. More serious methods may be required.

The best method of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome rehabilitation is physical therapy. There are many methods of physical therapy out there which are able to help in easing the pain of this disorder. By strengthening the muscles, this will help ease the pain as well as prevent worsening of the condition. Physical therapy will also help provide daily stretches and activities to do for future pain flare ups.

Wrist with cold compress

Woman Receiving Physical Therapy on Arm

How Can BioMotion Help My Carpal Tunnel

To some, Carpal Tunnel Syndrome can seem like a big inconvenience. It seems like a condition that’s small enough where you wouldn’t need to see a physical therapist. Simply place a splint on it and you don’t have to bother anyone with it.

BioMotion Physical Therapy doesn’t believe in that. Pain is pain. It’s as simple as that. Anyone that feels any pain, big or small, deserves the same amount of treatment and validation as anyone else. Any organization that treats you differently is wrong. We treat Carpal Tunnel Syndrome very seriously. Carpal Tunnel Syndrome is not a small disorder. It’s indicative of something that is a much larger problem. Before it gets out of hand, we want to treat it. We want to give you the tools to adjust your life before your lifestyle forces you to change.

Through our physical therapy services, we will give you the tools and strategies you need to improve your life. We will put you through various exercises personalized to you. These will help strengthen the affected muscles in your wrist. Instead of falling victim to Carpal Tunnel Syndrome, you will be given the tools to be empowered against it. Since Carpal Tunnel Syndrome is also indicative of other things besides muscle strength, we’ll place an emphasis on education. Through posture and ergonomic education, you will have the knowledge to prevent more flare ups in the future.

Your well being is important. Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise. BioMotion Physical Therapy wants to enable you to take charge of your health. We’ll help give you the means to make sure that Carpal Tunnel Syndrome doesn’t stop you again.

Start Healing Today

Schedule an Appointment With Our Doctors!