Carpal Tunnel Syndrome occurs due to compression of the median nerve between the bones in our wrist (carpals) and a thick connective tissue (transverse carpal ligament) on the palm side of our hand. When the nerve is compressed, it can cause pain and numbness or tingling in the palm, thumb, index, and middle fingers. There may also be weakness and atrophy of the muscles in your thumb. Symptoms are typically worse at night and with repetitive wrist movements.
Carpal Tunnel Syndrome (CTS) is relatively common, it is estimated to affect between 3-6 % of the general population. It is more often seen in the dominant hand in women aged 40-60. Risk factors for CTS include: rheumatoid arthritis, diabetes, pregnancy, and repetitive use (such as typing).
Physiotherapy has been shown to be an effective treatment for carpal tunnel syndrome. There is a strong correlation between CTS and neck problems; therefore it is important to have a thorough assessment by a physiotherapist to identify all of the causes of your symptoms. As a result, treatment will vary depending on the causes. Typical physiotherapy treatment for CTS includes:

  • Wearing a night splint;
  • Manual therapy including carpal mobilizations to improve joint mechanics in the wrist and hand;
  • Nervous tissue mobilization to improve circulation and mobility of the nerves and their connective tissue;
  • Education regarding ergonomics and posture; and,
  • Anti-inflammatory modalities such as ultrasound, contrast baths, and ice.

Most people will respond well to physiotherapy treatment. A noticeable difference in resting pain is often seen within the first few treatments, and return to previously aggravating activities within 6-12 weeks.