FAQ074: What is Carpal Tunnel Syndrome (CTS)?

Carpal Tunnel Syndrome (CTS)

CTS is a common condition in the wrist. It is associated with numbness and tingling in the inside part of the hand. Some experience pain as well in the palm of the hand.

What causes CTS?

This is a relatively common overuse injury in the upper body. It can happen from having a desk job with an improper set up. Spending lots of time by a computer is not only bad because we need to move (check out the podcast here) but also makes us do small repetitive movements over and over. Letter carriers and sorters in the post are another example of a job where we see this type of injury.

What does a physiotherapist assess if you’re suffering from CTS?

If you are going to physiotherapy for CTS, your physiotherapist is going to try to find out where the numbness and tingling is coming from. For some, it is the small muscles in the forearm. They can get tight and cause pressure on the nerve going into the hand. This nerve is called the median nerve. But for other people, it can be an issue up higher. Tightness or issues with the shoulder or neck can also cause CTS symptoms.

What does rehab look like?

Rehabilitation for CTS is often done conservatively. Conservative management means without the use of surgery or another medical procedure. If conservative management such as physiotherapy fails, surgery may be recommended. The surgical option often recommended for CTS is a carpal tunnel release. This is when they will make a cut into the wrist to release the pressure on the nerve. This will still require rehab after the surgery but may work to relieve symptoms.

In this FAQ, we do an introduction to what CTS is and what we can do about it. If you require more information, consult with your healthcare provider for the best advice for you!


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Christina Prevett

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