New developments in the treatment of carpal tunnel syndrome

Carpal tunnel syndrome is a very common condition, affecting 3% of the population. Carpal tunnel syndrome treatment begins with immobilisation of the joint with a carpal tunnel splint and adaptation of activities. If this fails to work, surgery usually becomes necessary, but recent research has shown that physiotherapy treatment could yield better results.

What treatments exist for carpal tunnel syndrome?

In carpal tunnel syndrome treatment, the use of splints or wrist supports can help relieve symptoms. In most cases, carpal tunnel syndrome affects women between the ages of 40 and 60 due to fluid retention during the menopause and people who use a computer keyboard and mouse for their work, which involves repetitive wrist and finger movements. It is the most common neuropathy in the upper limb and also the most common cause of wrist pain due to compression of the median nerve as a result of narrowing of the carpal tunnel.

The main purpose of carpal tunnel syndrome treatment is to limit the kind of activities that aggravate it. For example, using ergonomic accessories in the workplace to minimise strain on the nerve. It is also a good idea to use a carpal tunnel splint or wrist support. These can relieve pain, alleviate symptoms, protect the wrist and kept it in a neutral position to prevent compression of the tunnel.

Carpal tunnel wrist support and splint like those produced by Orliman: The wrist support with rigid palmar splint offers support and stabilisation of the joints and limits palmar and dorsal flexion. This carpal tunnel wrist support also ensures functional immobilisation of the wrist. And allows free movement of the fingers.

Orliman’s wrist immobilisation splint is designed to limit the mobility of the wrist. There are different models of carpal tunnel splint depending on the required extension angle (35°-40° or 20°). This splint also allows mobility of all of the fingers.

Physiotherapy for the treatment of carpal tunnel syndrome

In carpal tunnel syndrome treatment, if pain persists, surgery usually becomes necessary. This makes it possible to reduce pressure in the tunnel and release the nerve. A recent study by Rey Juan Carlos I University though has shown that physiotherapy is equally effective in the long term and more effective in the short term.

The research involved studying 120 patients who were randomly divided between the surgical treatment and the physiotherapy treatment. . The physiotherapy treatment (3 x 30-minute sessions) consisted of manual therapy techniques to release nerve compression points, neurodynamic mobilisation and manipulation of muscles and tendons.

Patients were also taught exercises and given tips to enable them to continue working on their recovery.

The research found that, in the medium and long term (6-12 months), the two kinds of treatment had similar results. Both reduced pain and improved mobility. In the short term (1-3 months) though, the physiotherapy patients experienced greater improvement.

This research opens up new possibilities for carpal tunnel syndrome treatment. A treatment that should be complemented by the use of splints or wrist supports to help alleviate the symptoms. It should also include the use of ergonomic aids in the workplace to prevent recurrence.

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