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Finding Relief: Physiotherapy for Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

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, 4 min read

 Finding Relief: Physiotherapy for Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

Carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS) is a common condition that affects the hand and wrist, causing pain, numbness, and tingling. It occurs when the median nerve, which runs through the carpal tunnel in the wrist, becomes compressed or irritated. Physiotherapy offers effective strategies for managing CTS and improving symptoms. In this blog post, we'll explore the causes, symptoms, treatment options, and the role of physiotherapy in alleviating carpal tunnel syndrome.

Understanding Carpal Tunnel Syndrome:

The carpal tunnel is a narrow passageway in the wrist formed by bones and ligaments. When the median nerve, which controls sensation and movement in the hand, becomes compressed within this tunnel, it can lead to symptoms such as pain, numbness, and tingling in the thumb, index finger, middle finger, and half of the ring finger. Common risk factors for CTS include repetitive hand movements, wrist injury, pregnancy, and underlying medical conditions such as diabetes or arthritis.

Physiotherapy's Role in Treatment:

Physiotherapy plays a crucial role in the management of carpal tunnel syndrome. A skilled physiotherapist can conduct a thorough assessment to identify contributing factors and develop a personalised treatment plan. Treatment may include manual therapy techniques such as mobilisation and nerve gliding exercises to reduce compression on the median nerve and improve wrist mobility (Baysal et al., 2016). Additionally, therapeutic exercises targeting the wrist and hand muscles can help alleviate symptoms and improve function (O'Connor et al., 2019).

Read more: Physiotherapy vs. Chiropractic vs. Osteopathy

Signs and Symptoms to Be Aware of:

It's essential to be aware of the signs and symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome, including pain, numbness, and tingling in the hand and fingers, particularly at night or during activities that involve repetitive wrist movements. Red flags indicating a more severe or progressive condition include weakness in the hand or fingers, difficulty gripping objects, or loss of sensation in the palm or fingers. If you experience these symptoms, it's crucial to seek prompt medical evaluation to prevent further nerve damage or complications.

Jargon Buster:

  • Carpal tunnel: Narrow passageway in the wrist through which the median nerve and tendons pass.
  • Nerve gliding exercises: Exercises designed to improve the mobility and flexibility of nerves, reducing compression and irritation.

Myth Buster:

Myth: Surgery is the only effective treatment for carpal tunnel syndrome.
While surgery may be necessary in severe cases of CTS that do not respond to conservative treatments, many individuals find relief through physiotherapy interventions, lifestyle modifications, and self-care strategies.

Acute and Chronic Physiotherapy Management:

The management of carpal tunnel syndrome may vary depending on the severity and duration of symptoms. Acute management typically focuses on reducing pain and inflammation through rest, ice therapy, and splinting to immobilise the wrist and reduce pressure on the median nerve. Chronic management involves addressing underlying factors contributing to CTS, such as muscle imbalances, the impact of some postures, or repetitive strain injuries, through therapeutic exercises and ergonomic modifications (Baysal et al., 2016).

Self-Management Strategies:

Ergonomically optimized desk setup to prevent carpal tunnel strain and person doing exercise

In addition to attending physiotherapy sessions, individuals can practise self-management strategies to alleviate symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome. These may include practising good ergonomics, taking frequent breaks during repetitive activities, performing stretching exercises for the wrist and hand muscles, and using wrist splints or braces to support the wrist and reduce strain (Marques et al., 2018).

eMed Physiotherapy for Carpal Tunnel Syndrome:

eMed physiotherapy offers a convenient and accessible option for individuals seeking treatment for carpal tunnel syndrome (eMed, n.d.). Through virtual consultations and guided exercise programs, eMed physiotherapy allows patients to receive expert care from the comfort of their homes. This approach can be particularly beneficial for individuals with mobility limitations or those who prefer remote healthcare services.

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Carpal tunnel syndrome can significantly impact hand and wrist function, but with the right approach, relief is possible. Physiotherapy interventions, including therapeutic exercises and lifestyle modifications, play a central role in alleviating symptoms and improving function. By understanding the signs, seeking timely help, and actively participating in treatment, individuals with carpal tunnel syndrome can regain function and improve their quality of life. With the accessibility of platforms like eMed physiotherapy, expert care is just a click away, empowering individuals to take control of their healing journey.


  • Baysal, Ö., Altan, L., Karan, A., & Öztürk, G. T. (2016). Efficacy of nerve and tendon gliding exercises for carpal tunnel syndrome: A systematic review. Journal of Physical Therapy Science, 28(6), 1970–1974.
  • Marques, A. S., Mancini, M. C., & de Melo, M. M. R. (2018). Effectiveness of stretching exercises for the treatment of carpal tunnel syndrome: A systematic review with meta-analysis. Archives of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, 99(8), 1625–1633.
  • O'Connor, D., Marshall, S. C., Massy-Westropp, N., & Pitt, V. (2019). Non-surgical treatment (other than steroid injection) for carpal tunnel syndrome. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews, (1).

The information provided is for educational purposes only and is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Seek the advice of a doctor with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never delay seeking or disregard professional medical advice because of something you have read here.

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