Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

Definition and Symptoms of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome:

The carpal tunnel is a band of fibrous tissue that supports the wrist joint. The median nerve travels down the forearm through this tunnel to the hand. When there is a thickening of the tendon, compression or inflammation in this tunnel, you can have pain or numbness that travels to the thumb, index and middle fingers. Symptoms are usually worse during the night or first thing in the morning. This is most likely due to flexing the wrist while sleeping. Carpal tunnel syndrome can also lead to weakness in grip strength.

Causes of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome:

Some people think carpal tunnel syndrome is most common among people who type all day at work. Surprisingly, there are more common causes. Carpal tunnel is most common among assembly line workers. Other occupations that can contribute to carpal tunnel are sewing, cleaning, using vibrating tools, and packaging meat or poultry. Other conditions that can cause carpal tunnel are pregnancy, obesity, diabetes, hypothyroidism, arthritis and many repetitive work injuries.

Treatment of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome:

Treatment for carpal tunnel syndrome can include the use of anti-inflammatory medication, corticosteroids, and physical therapy. A physical therapist will perform modalities such as ultrasound, massage, ice, heat and electrical stimulation to reduce inflammation and pain. A therapist will provide exercises consisting of stretching and strengthening exercises to improve the function of the hand.

Hamstring Strain

A hamstring strain is an injury to the hamstring muscle. A severe hamstring strain can result in a tear of the muscle. Hamstring strains usually occur during running, jumping and climbing and are very common among sprinters, hurdle jumpers and football players.

The hamstring is made up of 3 muscles, the semitendinosus, semimembranosis and the biceps femoris muscles. These muscles are responsible for bending your knee and extending your hip.

Symptoms of a hamstring strain include a sharp pain in the back of the leg, pain with bending over and stretching the hamstring muscles, and pain when contracting the hamstring muscle. Sometimes there may be bruising or swelling.

It is important to rest, ice, compress and elevate for the first 48 hours. Then, begin gentle stretching to tolerance.

Next, make an appointment with a physical therapist. The physical therapist will perform modalities such as ultrasound, massage and electrical stimulation to decrease pain and swelling. The physical therapist will instruct you in exercise to improve flexibility and regain strength.

Back Pain and Physical Therapy

An episode of back pain can last anywhere from 2 to 8 weeks. Seeing a physical therapist can decrease your healing time and prevent further injury.

Typical treatment will consist of heat or cold packs, electrical stimulation, ultrasound, massage, stretching, postural education, and lumbar stabilization exercises.

Stretching exercises are performed to restore your flexibility and motion. Strengthening exercises are performed to increase the muscular support of your spine to prevent further injury.