started with a tingling, itchy, numb feeling in your palm, thumb, and first
two fingers— especially at night. Then you started dropping things.
Now hand discomfort and pain are affecting your work. And that’s a problem,
because, you’re on the keyboard all day. You can’t have your hand
slowing you down!
You’ve got the cart before the
horse. It’s probably not your hand
that’s bothering your work—it’s
your work that’s bothering your
hand. You may have carpal tunnel
syndrome, and if you don’t take
steps now, it could get worse. Ultimately, you could
lose strength and feeling in your hand.
Your primary care doctor may suspect carpal tunnel
syndrome, and will probably refer you to a hand specialist.
Once the diagnosis is made, the hand specialist,
depending on the severity of the symptoms or other
associated problems, may refer you to a rehabilitation
specialist. This is where the Hand Therapy Program
at Ahlbin Rehabilitation Centers can help.
Occupational Therapist Abbie Davies, a certified
hand therapist at Ahlbin Centers, explains. “Our arms
and hands were designed for throwing a few spears
every day; stirring a few pots of stew; weaving a few
garments. They were not designed for sitting at a keyboard
making the same few finger motions for days
and years at a time.
“The carpal tunnel,” she add, “is just a narrow
space within your wrist, surrounded by bones and ligaments
(bone-to-bone connectors). Through this rigid
tunnel, nine tendons (bone-to-muscle connectors) and
one nerve must pass.”
It’s a snug fit, and if the tendons swell, as can happen
when you make the same hand movements over
and over, then they squeeze on that one nerve. The
result: tingling, numbness, clumsiness, or pain. Sound
If carpal tunnel syndrome is diagnosed in its early stages, medication and
may be all that is necessary. Nonsteroidal
(NSAIDs) like Advil®, Motrin®,
etc. can relieve the pain. And a
good therapy program can help
reduce the swelling and prevent
In the Hand Therapy Program
at Ahlbin Rehabilitation Centers,
you’ll not only receive therapy;
you’ll be taught exercises and
stretches to do at home, and you’ll
learn how to manage your daily activities
to avoid putting stress on
the tendons and nerve of your hand.
If necessary, your therapist will provide a temporary
hand splint. This will keep your hand and fingers from
moving, helping prevent further injury.
If medication and therapy are not enough, surgery
may resolve the problem. By cutting the ligament
that forms the roof of the tunnel, the surgeon opens
up space for the tendons and nerve, and they can be
examined and tested as necessary.
After surgery, Ahlbin Centers’ Hand Therapy Program
can help your regain strength in the hand.
You depend on your hands every minute of every
day. Don’t put up with pain or discomfort when help
is close at hand!