Avoiding Carpal Tunnel Surgery

A friend of mine stopped by the clinic a few days ago with an article from the most recent “READERS DIGEST”. The article was titled “Avoiding Carpal Tunnel Surgery”.  What is carpal tunnel you ask?

Carpal tunnel syndrome is a musculoskeletal condition in which the median nerve is compressed by a thickening of the transverse carpal ligament.


  • A feeling of pins and needles type numbness felt in the first 3 to 4 fingers
  • Weakness in the thumb
  • Clumsiness and difficulty with activities requiring fine finger movements.
  • Pain and numbness with a static positioning of the hands as during driving, reading a newspaper or holding a tablet.

What was particularly interesting about this article in “READERS DIGEST”, was a referenced study that indicated patients whom had physical therapy for carpal tunnel experienced better pain and symptom relief than those who had surgery.

Physical Therapy Treatment:

Treatment is broken into 3 parts all which are of equal importance.

1. Splinting

  • Usually splinting in the evening when sleeping is sufficient, but in some cases splinting full time may be necessary. Immobilization for a period of two weeks is beneficial in allowing the irritation to subside.

2. Manual Therapy

  • Soft tissue mobilizations and massage to restricted areas as well as joint mobilizations to improve joint tracking and range of motion.

3. Therapeutic Exercise

  • The key to rehabilitating from carpal tunnel syndrome are nerve and tendon gliding exercises. Strengthening of the wrist and hand should also be included only in a pain-free and non-symptom inducing manner.

Persistent cases that do not resolve with splinting and therapeutic interventions may require surgery. Most orthopedic surgeons are very well equipped to handle this and in most instances can be done on an outpatient basis.

My team and I are very well equipped to handle both operative and non-operative treatment of carpal tunnel. Give us a call today to setup a free consultation for any concern you may have!