Carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS) is painful condition caused due to compression of the median nerve passing through the carpal tunnel of the wrist. It is an occupational hazard usually associated with corporates who have repetitive hand movements, flexion and extension activities of the wrist, gripping activities, use of vibratory tools or maintaining awkward hand and wrist positions (such as using a keyboard) for long hours.
Carpal tunnel is a structure on the palmer side of the wrist. It protects the vital structures such as the median nerve, tendons and blood vessels. It is a band of strong ligaments that attach to wrist bones on either side.
What are the common symptoms of CTS?
• Aching hand
• Weakness in gripping
• Wasting of thenar ( thumb) muscles in chronic cases
• Numbness especially in the night
• Swelling around the wrist and hand
• Pins and needles
All these symptoms are seen along the palmer aspect of thumb, index, middle and outer aspect of ring finger.
How is CTS diagnosed?
A physiotherapist can help you diagnose your problem based on your history, symptoms and clinical examination. The doctor may refer you for nerve conduction studies (EMG), ultrasound or X-Ray as per requirement.
How to treat CTS?
Rest from aggravating factors is important in order to reduce the inflammation. Ergonomic advice plays a vital role in occupational hazards. E.g. the angle of wrist to keyboard should not be more than 45 degrees.
Check your work place and daily practices. For computer users, follow the image on left to minimize your symptoms
If any of the given exercises aggravate your pain, we recommend you to consult a physiotherapist for further assistance