Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
1. What is causing the pain and how did I get it?
Carpal tunnel syndrome is a wrist condition whereby the median nerve is being compressed. It may cause intermittent numbness or tingling on the thumb and fingers (except little fingers). This may be associated with discomfort in your wrist and hand. Overtime it may leads to pain, numbness and weakness of the hand and thumb if there is no early treatment receive. There are few factors can contribute to carpal tunnel syndrome, including the anatomy of your wrist, certain underlying health problems and possibly the patterns of hand use.
2. How can Hand occupational therapist help?
A wrist splint that holds your wrist still while you sleep can help to relieve nighttime symptoms of increasing tingling or numbness of your thumb or fingers. Your Occupational Therapist will educate you more on the splint regime base on the severity of the conditions.
b) Activity modification
Activity modification can help to prevent or minimize symptoms at home and at work. Here are a few methods you can adopt in your daily activities.
- Minimizing repetition: Avoid repetitive movements of the wrist.
- Pacing your activities: Give your hands a break by resting in between tasks. You may do this by alternating between easy and hard tasks, switch hands or, if possible, to rotate work activities.
- Releasing tension: Nerve gliding exercises can helps to allow the nerve glide smoothly over the tendons and bones of the wrist.
- Sleeping posture: Avoid sleeping on your hands to help ease the pain or numbness in your wrists and hands.
Your Occupational Therapist will prescribe an exercise program for you. Do consult your Occupational Therapist before commencing the exercises
3. How can we help?
Use the splint, and complete the above exercises as recommended by your Occupational Therapist. Perform them slowly and according to the prescribed frequency by the Occupational Therapist.
4. How long will it take to recover? (ie prognosis)
Symptoms should gradually disappears after 3 – 4 weeks however it may varies depending on your age, other’s general health conditions. If your symptoms are severe or persist after trying non-surgical therapy, surgery may be the most appropriate option.