EMG Testing, Diagnostics, Hand Therapy, Dry Needling, Hand Pain, Wrist Pain, Finger Pain

Hand in Hand: Your Roadmap to Carpal Tunnel Syndrom Relief

What is it?

To start at the beginning, what is carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS)? It is the compression of the median nerve. This nerve is what lets you feel your middle finger, index finger, and thumb. When this nerve is compressed, you will notice tingling or numbness in those three fingers. While sometimes pain is associated with CTS, it is not the main indicator.


The main indicators of CTS according to the American Society for Surgery of the Hand are:


  • Numbness & tingling that is often worse at night
  • Having to shake your hand or hold over the side of the bed at night
  • Fingers feeling swollen or fuzzy
  • Dropping objects/weakening grip strength
  • Weak pinch
  • Discomfort in wrist, hand, or fingers


Understanding Carpal Tunnel Syndrome Causes


There are many things that can cause CTS, such as: 


  • Repetitive Hand and Wrist Movements: Activities that involve repetitive hand and wrist movements, such as typing, using a computer mouse, or operating machinery, can lead to CTS over time.
  • Prolonged or Forceful Hand Use: Jobs or hobbies that require prolonged or forceful use of the hands, such as assembly line work, construction, or playing musical instruments, can increase the risk of developing CTS.
  • Wrist Anatomy: Certain anatomical factors, such as having a smaller carpal tunnel or an irregular wrist bone structure, can predispose individuals to CTS.
  • Medical Conditions: Certain medical conditions, such as diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, thyroid disorders, and obesity, can increase the risk of developing CTS.
  • Pregnancy: Hormonal changes and fluid retention during pregnancy can lead to swelling and compression of the median nerve, increasing the likelihood of CTS.
  • Trauma or Injury: Wrist injuries, such as fractures or sprains, can cause inflammation and swelling in the carpal tunnel, putting pressure on the median nerve.
  • Age and Gender: CTS is more common in individuals over 50 years old, and it’s also more prevalent in women, possibly due to hormonal factors.
  • Obesity: Being overweight or obese can increase the risk of developing CTS, possibly due to increased pressure on the median nerve.
  • Other Factors: Smoking, poor ergonomic practices, and certain medications may also contribute to the development of CTS or exacerbate symptoms.

While this may seem daunting, Carpal Tunnel Syndrome can be treated with the help of hand therapy.

Carpal Tunnel Syndrome Treatment Options:

  • Wrist Splinting
  • Activity Modification
  • Ergonomic Changes
  • Physical Therapy
  • Corticosteroid Injections
  • Medications
  • Surgery (Carpal Tunnel Release)
  • Alternative Therapies
  • Lifestyle Changes
  • Assistive Devices

As you can see, there are many ways to treat CTS. When exploring alternative therapies for Carpal Tunnel Syndrome management, it is beneficial to consider physical therapy. At Catalyst Physical Therapy, we utilize a combination of manual therapy and therapeutic exercise.


For manual therapy, we use electrical stimulation to help with pain and re-education of the nerves. Specifically, we use direct current, which is different from the typical alt-current stimulation that is typically used during physical therapy. This direct current stimulation not only works to relieve pain, but it affects the nerve directly, allowing sensation in an otherwise numb area. Another form of manual therapy that Catalyst Physical Therapy utilizes is cupping therapy. This helps relieve the compression of the median nerve that is being compressed that causes CTS. It promotes blood flow to the affected area, encouraging the healing process. One of our unique manual therapy techniques for Carpal Tunnel Syndrome is our dry needling. This form of therapy is great for intramuscular stimulation, which focuses on stimulating neural pathways to reduce pain and restore function.


Along with our hands-on therapy, we utilize therapeutic exercises. We will mimic your daily tasks to improve your hand and wrist’s function in your day-to-day life.


Why Choose Catalyst:


In addition to treating Carpal Tunnel Syndrome, we are able to diagnose CTS with up to 99.5% accuracy using our nerve testing capabilities. EMG/NCV testing, also known as electromyography and nerve conduction velocity testing, plays a crucial role in diagnosing CTS. This diagnostic procedure involves assessing the electrical activity of muscles and the speed of nerve signals in the affected area. By measuring the response of nerves and muscles to electrical stimulation, EMG/NCV testing can help identify nerve damage and pinpoint the location and severity of compression on the median nerve within the carpal tunnel. This comprehensive evaluation aids us in confirming a diagnosis of CTS, determining its underlying causes, and guiding appropriate treatment strategies. For individuals experiencing symptoms such as hand numbness, tingling, or weakness, undergoing EMG/NCV testing can provide valuable insights and pave the way for targeted management and relief.


Find your carpal tunnel syndrome relief at Catalyst Physical Therapy. Call today to schedule your FREE consult, and see how we can help your specific case.

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