Carpal Tunnel Syndrome (CTS) is a condition affecting millions of people across the globe, impacting their ability to perform everyday tasks and, therefore, quality of life. Characterised by symptoms such as tingling, numbness, and weakness in the hand and arm, CTS occurs when the median nerve, running from your forearm into the palm of your hand, is pinched at the wrist. While various treatments are available, from surgery to medication, hand therapy stands out as an effective and non-invasive approach to managing this debilitating condition.
Early Diagnosis and Intervention
Early diagnosis of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome is paramount for effective management. Hand therapy in Singapore can initially alleviate symptoms and stop the condition from worsening. Certified hand therapists use a variety of diagnostic tests to evaluate the severity of your symptoms and customise a treatment plan tailored to your needs.
One of the key elements of hand therapy is targeted exercises designed to improve function and reduce pain. Exercises like nerve gliding, wrist flexor stretches, and tendon gliding exercises help increase the mobility of the median nerve within the carpal tunnel. This not only helps in alleviating the symptoms but also aims to prevent further nerve damage.
Hand therapists often employ assistive devices like wrist splints or braces to immobilise the wrist in a neutral position. This helps reduce the pressure on the median nerve, offering relief from the symptoms. These devices are especially useful during activities that can exacerbate the condition, such as typing or using hand tools.
Pain Management Techniques
Hand therapy includes a variety of pain management techniques that can be invaluable for patients suffering from CTS. Modalities such as ultrasound, cold packs, and electrical stimulation can be used to control pain and inflammation. Moreover, therapists may employ manual techniques like soft tissue mobilisation to improve circulation and reduce muscle tightness around the wrist.
Pre- and Post-operative Care
Surgery might be the recommended course of action in severe cases of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome. Hand therapy plays a vital role in both pre-operative preparation and post-operative recovery. Pre-operatively, it prepares the patient for what to expect during recovery and aims to optimise hand function. Post-operative hand therapy helps to regain strength, improve flexibility, and ultimately, speed up the healing process.
Education and Lifestyle Modification
Education is an often-underestimated component of hand therapy. Therapists educate patients about lifestyle changes that can help manage symptoms better. Simple adjustments, such as ergonomic setups at workstations or taking frequent breaks, can significantly affect the severity and frequency of symptoms.
In conclusion, hand therapy is not just an alternative but a crucial component in the treatment of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome. It offers a holistic approach that addresses the symptoms and underlying issues contributing to the condition. Whether as a stand-alone treatment or as a complement to other medical interventions, hand therapy has a significant role to play in managing and ultimately conquering Carpal Tunnel Syndrome.