Autumn 2003
Carpal Tunnel Syndrome: Help Is at Hand!

It 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 familiar?

If carpal tunnel syndrome is diagnosed in its early stages, medication and exercises may be all that is necessary. Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) like Advil®, Motrin®, etc. can relieve the pain. And a good therapy program can help reduce the swelling and prevent further injury.

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!

Ahlbin Rehabilitation Centers: Helping Hands

Using heat therapy, ultrasound therapy, massage, splints, and exercises, therapists at Ahlbin Rehabilitation Centers can help to repair hand injuries caused by—

arthritis burns fractures nerve injuries rotator cuff injuries sprains or strains tendinitis tumors or cysts and more.

If you feel that you could benefit from hand therapy, talk to your physician about a referral to Ahlbin Centers’ Hand Therapy Program.