The Hand…….it’s one of the most important ways we navigate through life and is one of the most intricate parts of the human body. It’s no wonder that when something goes awry it can cause such disruption in our lives.
The hand and arm are incredibly interconnected, with that said an injury that involves one part of your arm can sometimes cause symptoms at the other end or vice versa. For example, many people who have symptoms of carpal tunnel may also experience elbow pain, shoulder pain or neck pain. And if you have numbness and tingling in any of your fingers it is likely from nerve irritation but it may not be coming from your hand or elbow...it could be from your neck. Don't let this get missed by having therapy focused to the hand region only. It is crucial to have a skilled physical therapist evaluate your cervical spine, shoulder, elbow and hand to determine the source of the issue and treat it appropriately to not waste your time and money. Your physical therapist will be able to provide the most experienced examination and provide the most effective treatment for what may be causing your shoulder, elbow or wrist symptoms.
Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
One of the most common conditions people talk about. Typing, writing and jobs that require repetitive lifting continue to be a threat for developing the condition known as Carpal Tunnel Syndrome (CTS). The debilitating syndrome is named for the tunnel that the median nerve travels through in your wrist. Overly stressing the median nerve can lead to aching in the wrist and that numbness and tingling in the fingers associated with CTS. Often, hormone fluctuations can put patients more at risk for CTS, so pregnant women, and women between the ages of 34-60, may be more likely to experience these symptoms. However, this nerve can be pinched in a few other areas along its path from the neck into the hand so it is crucial to determine where that compression is coming from.
Early intervention — a few sessions of therapy may help get your symptoms under control and ultimately avoid surgery. Certain movements and positions can make these symptoms worse or better so education is the key. Also very specific exercises can help as well as addressing the inflammation surrounding that nerve may also be helpful.
Another common injury is the wrist sprain/strain. Children and adults who do sports are most at risk or anyone that decides to throw themselves on the ground (by accident of course) can get wrist pain. Many physicians will tell you just to rest and ice…..while this may be important it’s most important to treat this sooner than later as if left untreated it can lead to nagging symptoms and a more chronic problem. If the wrist pain is due to more of a repetitive problem it’s crucial to look at the patient’s body mechanics while performing the activity to determine the root of the problem and treat it holistically.
We treat numerous conditions affecting the hands, wrists and elbows. Among them are:
- Tennis/Golfers elbow
- Joint pain
- Tendon injuries/repairs
- Cubital Tunnel Syndrome
- Biceps ruptures
How are these conditions treated?
The first step in dealing with a hand, wrist or elbow injury is evaluating the source of the problem. Many patients will have seen a physician and provide you with a diagnosis, we then will work together. However, if you have not yet seen a physician for what is concerning you, your physical therapist is able to evaluate you, discuss your condition and point you in the right direction if they feel further treatment is necessary. Our physical therapist has direct access and does not require a prescription from your physician so treatment can get started early!
At that point the first priority is to help get your symptoms under control. We do this with a variety of manual therapy techniques and possibly some modalities if appropriate. We also want to determine the root of the problem to help prevent it from recurring and address any range of motion or strength deficits you may be experiencing so that you can get back to doing what’s important to you.
Please feel free to contact us to discuss any concerns you may be having and determine if therapy is the best fit for you.