Wrist Pain Therapist in NYC - Therapy and Recovery.
Updated: Dec 17, 2020
Carpal Tunnel Syndrome (CTS) is relatively prevalent, especially in New York City, where many jobs require typing away at a laptop for hours every day. Professional physical therapy can help you avoid thousands of dollars on surgery to combat CTS. Certified physical therapists can provide exercises and techniques to prevent and reduce wrist pain. Schedule an appointment at a physical therapy clinic in NYC and UWS for Carpal Tunnel Syndrome.
Have you or anyone you know ever had pain, weakness and/or numbness in your wrist or hand? If the answer is yes, it is not surprising given that CTS affects 3-6% of the general U.S. population. There are between 500,000 and 600,000 surgeries costing an estimated $2 Billion annually.
We have compiled this handy wrist guide covering: wrist pain, relief and recovery.
Anatomy of the Forearm and Carpal Tunnel
The carpal tunnel is formed by bones and ligaments that act as a narrow passageway to the palm side of the wrist. This tunnel provides space and protection for an important nerve to your hand, the median nerve, as well as all of the tendons that attach to and control movement and sensations in your fingers. Carpal Tunnel Syndrome (CTS) occurs when the median nerve becomes entrapped by a compression narrowing or inflammation in the tunnel itself.
While CTS is a common work injury here in New York, an important thing to consider is that the median nerve can also be entrapped by a muscle in the forearm known as the Pronator Teres. The pronator teres is responsible for rotating the forearm and can become very fibrotic and stuck to adjacent muscles through overuse, especially when leading an active lifestyle. When this happens, it is often diagnosed as Pronator Teres Syndrome (PTS).
Symptoms: CTS and PTS
Carpal Tunnel Syndrome (CTS)
Pain, weakness and/or numbing in first 3.5 fingers.
Symptoms may arise while sleeping
Symptoms primarily in wrist and hand
Symptoms with wrist and hand movements
To confirm an accurate CTS diagnosis, it is very important to undergo a nerve conduction test in addition to a physical exam to confirm the diagnosis.
Pronator Teres Syndrome (PTS)
Tenderness or pain in upper portion of the forearm
Pain increases with grabbing, forearm rotation and elbow flexion
Pain, weakness and/or numbing in first 3.5 fingers.
Rarely night pain
Symptoms in wrist, hand and/or forearm and possibly shoulder
It is important also to note that similar symptoms can arise as a result of compression of the brachial nerve near the shoulder joint, known as Thoracic Outlet Syndrome (TOS) or a Pinched Nerve at the neck. Treatments for CTS, PTS, TOS and pinched neck nerves are significantly different. Therefore, accurate diagnosis by a Physician is vital to successful treatment and recovery.
Got a wrist or hand pain? read our injury therapy guide for solutions.
Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
In many CTS diagnoses, a single cause is not identified but rather a combination of risk factors is often at play. Despite desk jobs being common occupations in which employees experience symptoms, according to the Mayo Clinic, “There has not been enough quality and consistent evidence to support extensive computer use as a risk factor for carpal tunnel syndrome, although it may cause a different form of hand pain”. Many other studies and institutions have made similar conclusions based on the available evidence.
With this in mind, here are some of the CTS risk factors:
Structural factors: fractures, dislocations, carpal tunnel shape, bone spurs
Women 3 x more likely than men for many reasons
Obesity and lack of fitness
Specific diseases such as Diabetes and Rheumatoid Arthritis
Age: risk increases with age
Occupations requiring forceful and repetitive manual labor
Pronator Teres Syndrome
Pain with repetitive elbow, wrist and hand movements
Pain with forceful grasping of the hands and twisting at the wrists
Sports: Racquet sports, rowing and weight lifting are most common
Women 4 x more likely than men
Most Effective Treatments
The most effective treatment options for CTS and PTS are different in important ways, highlighting the necessity of an accurate diagnosis.
Treatment for Carpal Tunnel Syndrome (CTS):
Activity modification – decrease or complete rest of contributing activities
Anti-inflammatory medications (short-term relief)
Ultrasound and Electromagnetic Field Therapy
Physical and Manual Therapies
Surgery – 3 basic surgical options with varying success rates
The scientific data and research is conflicted on the comparative effectiveness of different treatments for Carpal Tunnel Syndrome. A large study in Madrid, Spain, found that manual therapies are equally effective as surgery for CTS.
For clear cases of Carpel Tunnel Syndrome, physical therapy, medical massage, Active Release Techniques, activity modification and other conservative treatments should be used first.
"A new client called me the day after his first treatment to say that his “carpel tunnel” symptoms were entirely gone. One session! That’s all it took." - Mark
When unresponsive to these treatments and therapies, surgery can be the solution.
If surgery is indeed needed after all for CTS, studies show that patients with moderate (as opposed to mild or severe) cases respond best to surgery. It is crucial to emphasize that surgery for a misdiagnosis of CTS will not only fail to resolve the symptoms but could create an entirely new and more complicated problem. So be proactive and persistent with these injuries because they can persist and worsen with time making treatment more difficult
Treatment for Pronator Teres Syndrome (PTS):
When properly labeled and treated, symptoms caused by pronator teres entrapment can be effectively rehabilitated through: