Severe carpal tunnel syndrome can be debilitating, leaving you unable to use your hands for much of anything for any length of time. Physical therapy with Louisville, KY physical therapists can help you manage the pain you experience from carpal tunnel syndrome and restore the use of your hands.
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Signs That You Have Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
Carpal tunnel syndrome occurs when a nerve in your forearm, the median nerve, is compressed. It’s in a narrow tunnel in your arm, surrounded by ligaments and bones. When the carpal tunnel has pressure put on it, over time it collapses, squeezing the median nerve.
When your median nerve gets compressed, you may experience pain, tingling, numbness, and weakness in your forearm and hand. The pain can be sharp, shooting up your arm, or burning, making it feel like your hand and forearm are on fire.
There are many causes of carpal tunnel syndrome. Any damage to the bones of your wrist and forearm, such as breaks or arthritis, can narrow the carpal tunnel. Women are more prone to it than men because their carpal tunnels are smaller. Some chronic conditions, such as diabetes or rheumatoid arthritis can cause shrinking of the carpal tunnel. Repetitive motion injuries may also cause carpal tunnel syndrome.
PT Exercises That Will Help With the Pain
An online search for “certified hand therapist near me” will give you a list of physical therapists who may specialize in working with the hands and wrists, and who are likely experts at treating patients with carpal tunnel syndrome.
If you think you may have carpal tunnel syndrome, you should first consult your doctor for appropriate care and not try any of these exercises, as they could make your pain worse. Some exercises are designed to help the median nerve move more easily in the carpal tunnel. Others help tendons move more easily to improve strength and range of motion.
One exercise that may help is stretching your arm out in front of you and holding up your hand like you’re telling someone to stop. Use your other hand on your palm to pull your hand gently back toward your elbow, which you should keep loose. When you feel a gentle stretching in your forearm, hold it for 10-15 seconds. Do this five times, four times a day, with each hand.
Another exercise is to hold your arm out again, but this time, point your fingers down. Use your opposite hand to gently pull the back of your hand toward your elbow. When you feel a gentle stretch, hold it for 10-15 seconds. Do this five times, four times a day, with each hand.
To strengthen your wrists after stretching, grab a pair of rolled-up socks and squeeze them for five seconds. Do 10 repetitions of that squeeze three times a day. You can also do wrist curls. Bend your arm in an L shape, then curl your hand up toward your forearm 30 times, three times a day. Physical therapy near Evansville can help you regain the flexibility and strength that carpal tunnel syndrome has stolen from you. Don’t hesitate to see your doctor to get full use of your hands back.