Painful wrists- Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

Painful wrists- Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

Painful wrists- Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

With all the increased use of smartphones, it should come as no surprise that carpal tunnel syndrome is one of the most common nerve entrapment syndromes reported by the medical community. Carpal tunnel syndrome is named for the narrow passageway in each of our wrists that houses among other things, the median nerve that transmits nerve impulses between the brain and the hands. The more a person uses their hands and wrists, more likely they are to eventually develop carpal tunnel syndrome. It’s very important to get the appropriate treatment for this painful condition, as, without treatment, it could lead to permanent weakness and disability in one or both hands.

 Anatomy of the Wrist

Our wrist is a vital passageway that contains radial and ulnar arteries that supply blood flow to the entire hand. It also houses the carpal bones. The carpal bone is a series of 8 bones connecting our hand to the forearm, the flexor tendons that assist in hand and wrist movement, and the radial, ulnar, and median nerves. Transverse carpal ligament is also there. The carpal ligament is a tough, fibrous band that resides on top of the carpal tunnel (where the wrist and palm meet). This ligament helps to hold the wrist bones in place.

Causes and Symptoms

People with excessive use of their hands may eventually develop pain and swelling within one or both wrists. Any repetitive activity that requires sustained flexion or extension of the wrist, makes a person more likely to develop carpal tunnel syndrome. Other activities such as excessive use of hand tools can aggravate nerves and tissues within the carpal tunnel.

The major symptoms include pain in the wrist and hands. It also includes nerve symptoms such as tingling, numbness or a burning sensation in the hands and fingers. Carpal tunnel sufferers may notice all these symptoms. This can even happen while sleeping since most people unknowingly bend (flex or extend) their wrists during night. This places additional pressure on already painful, swollen nerves and tissues.

If not treated, the excessive compression of nerves from the brain into the hand can become compressed. Eventually, a person’s hand becomes permanently numb and weak. In a few severe cases, a person will not even be able to perform fine finger movements.


Most of the cases of carpal tunnel syndrome can be treated through physical therapy, although in severe cases, a physician may decide that surgery is required. Physical therapy can help patients in a number of ways. A good physical therapist will take a holistic approach when it comes to treating a carpal tunnel patient. To begin with, they will likely focus on pain-relieving measures like fitting a patient with wrist splints designed to keep the wrist in a neutral position, especially while sleeping. They will also offer professional guidance as to what hand and wrist movements to avoid providing rest for irritated tissues.

Evaluating a patient’s posture is also equally important to determine. This way, you’ll find if any nerve compression is occurring in the neck and other upper body parts. A therapist will likely include gentle manipulation of tissues to relax tense muscles in and around the wrist, hands, and fingers. They might also incorporate exercises designed to strengthen a person’s posture.

If you have been diagnosed with carpal tunnel syndrome, please call SOS Physio Rehab.

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