Carpal tunnel syndrome can strike at any time. WebMD defines this syndrome as “numbness, tingling, weakness, and other problems in your hand because of pressure on the median nerve in your wrist.” These symptoms often will occur because of repetitive motion of the wrist, fingers, or forearm. Sometimes other illnesses such as hypothyroidism, diabetes, or arthritis can also make a person more susceptible to this syndrome. Pregnant women are also at risk for developing some form of carpal tunnel.
After initial diagnosis, if the case isn’t too severe, a primary physician may recommend steroid shots to the affected area, or wearing a brace. In extreme circumstances, a doctor will suggest doing surgery to help alleviate numbness or tingling.
However, a new study from the American Physical Therapy Association, has shown that physical therapy can actually be just as effective in healing carpal tunnel than surgery. The study looked at over 100 participants measuring their pinch-grip and range of motion after 6 months of physical therapy and then after a year. The conclusion was that people in the group treated with manual physical therapy were able to return to work faster and stronger than those who opted to have surgery. These findings support the notion that physical therapy would be the preferred method of treatment for carpal tunnel syndrome.
“Because better short-term outcomes were found with manual therapy, patients may be able to return earlier to their activities of daily living and work when they receive manual therapy, compared to those who undergo surgery.” – APTA
If you or someone who know suffers from carpal tunnel, and don’t want to have surgery, give us a call to help them return to a better life.