Carpal Tunnel Syndrome and Therapeutic Ultrasound
The carpal tunnel is a narrow passage in your wrist made up of small bones and a tough band of tissue that acts as a pulley for the tendons that bend the fingers. Carpal tunnel syndrome is caused by compression of one of the nerves that controls sensation and movement in the hands.
It’s a relatively common condition that causes a tingling sensation, numbness and sometimes pain in the hand and fingers. Usually, these sensations develop gradually and start off being worse during the night. Other symptoms include a dull ache in the hand or arm, thumb weakness and pins and needles.
It is not known what causes carpal tunnel syndrome but a number of things increase the risk of developing it, including:
- Family history
- Certain health conditions, such as diabetes, an underactive thyroid gland or rheumatoid arthritis
- Certain injuries to the wrist
- Certain activities
Moving your hand or shaking your wrist can often help relieve the symptoms. A wrist splint can be worn to support the wrist and keep it in a neutral position. The splint prevents the wrist from bending, which can place pressure on the median nerve and aggravate your symptoms. Corticosteroids (a type of steroids) can also be used to help reduce inflammation. These are normally administered as an injection directly into your wrist.
A less invasive method is therapeutic ultrasound. Studies have shown that therapeutic ultrasound is a favoured treatment and is similar in effectiveness to steroid injections or wrist splinting. Therapeutic ultrasound induces an anti‐inflammatory effect that can provide relief of symptoms. This method’s huge benefit is that it’s essentially non‐invasive.