Here’s why physical therapy should be your first option for treating carpal tunnel syndrome

Myo Fit Clinic 9 Dry Needling
Adam Miller, DPT, of MyoFit Clinic, demonstrates the dry needling technique for helping patients avoid carpal tunnel surgery.

By Dr. Adam Cramer, PT, DPT; MyoFit Clinic

When people feel wrist pain, they may assume it’s something bad, like carpal tunnel. The fact of the matter is, we all have a carpal tunnel—it’s the space within our wrist where veins, nerves and tendons travel from the forearm to the hand.

Because of the complex nature of the wrist and hand, this tunnel can easily become compressed. Even small amounts of swelling or tight muscles can put pressure on the carpal tunnel, resulting in pain, numbness and tingling in the wrist and hand.

There are a number of causes of carpal tunnel syndrome, such as certain sports or occupations. One frequent cause is prolonged computer use with poor ergonomic principles. Depending on the angle of your wrist, typing on a computer can be damaging. Because this is a condition that often takes weeks, months or years to develop, it makes sense that it would take time to overcome it in a noninvasive way.

Discovering the Underlying Causes
Many people quickly turn to surgery, but that doesn’t correct the underlying problem of how we use our hands and wrists on a daily basis. That’s why most people who have surgery will continue to have symptoms.

When consulting with a doctor of physical therapy first, practical solutions can be implemented to reduce further damage and avoid surgery. Treatment includes the use of hands-on muscle work, tendon work, dry needling, laser therapy, massage, stretching and heat. Most individuals with carpal tunnel syndrome have limited range of motion.

By providing these interventions in a one-on-one treatment environment, range of motion will improve, decreasing stress on the carpal tunnel and therefore reducing symptoms. The best part is, you can learn how to treat yourself independently so you will be in control.

An Ounce of Prevention
One key principle to keep in mind is that of varied movement. Carpal tunnel syndrome arises due to repeated movements. We can override the progression of carpal tunnel syndrome by interrupting those repetitive movements. Taking frequent rest breaks when working at a desk or on a computer will help give the muscles and tissues time to relax.

Dr. Adam M. Cramer, PT, DPT, is a licensed physical therapist and the owner of MyoFit Clinics. For more information, visit Clinics are located in Middlefield, 440-632-1007, Chardon, 440-286-1007, and Ashtabula 440-993-1004.