Physiotherapy Assistant

3 Things for Students in Physiotherapy Assisting Courses to Know About Carpal Tunnel

May 30, 2018

person holding onto wristAffecting office workers and video gamers everywhere, carpal tunnel syndrome is a sneaky condition that can lead to weakness, discomfort, and limited mobility in the fingers, hands, and wrists of those individuals who have it. It’s the kind of condition that is often not especially serious, but can be very frustrating as an individual awaits a return to normal feeling and function.

Fortunately, physiotherapy can be of assistance to individuals with carpal tunnel, with regular exercises and treatments able to help speed up the process of healing. Curious about how physiotherapy assistants might help with this process? Here’s what you need to know.

Carpal Tunnel Is a Repetitive Stress Injury, Which Complicates Healing & Living

Carpal tunnel syndrome is a condition arising from the median nerve (which runs through the wrist) getting compressed, and can affect feeling in the arm, wrist, hand, and fingers. Common symptoms include sensations of weakness, pain, tingling, or numbness, typically worsening over time. Left untreated long enough, there can even be a gradual atrophy of muscles in the hands or thumbs.

The cause of carpal tunnel, frequently, is repetitive activities that lead to swelling and stress. For some, working all day with a computer keyboard and mouse can be enough to cause it. Other activities that can cause it include playing video games for prolonged periods, construction work, or other tasks or pastimes that involve prolonged wrist movement. Activities that involve prolonged wrist movement, like video gaming, can cause carpal tunnel syndrome

Anything that interrupts a person’s normal work or leisure time is likely to be more difficult to recover from. They will want to or need to get back to the activity in question as quickly as possible, and might try to skip steps in their recovery or be unable to give up the aggravating activity at all. For graduates of physiotherapy assistant school, this might mean that extra effort needs to be made to educate clients about the importance of committing as much as possible to their recovery effort.

Graduates of Physiotherapy Assisting Courses Can Assist With Recovery Exercises

It’s possible to promote healing of carpal tunnel, or at least get rid of the worst of the symptoms, by engaging in physiotherapy stretching and exercises. Graduates of physiotherapy assisting courses are often involved in assisting clients with these activities, working under the direction of a physiotherapist to ensure proper form is observed for optimal healing.

It’s the kind of work that rewards familiarity, which is a big part of why the best training programs will have a large focus on practical work with the techniques really used in physiotherapy centers. If you want to be able to provide the best care possible to clients with carpal tunnel and other common physical ailments, this type of background will be ideal.

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Person flexing fingers

Extreme Cases of Carpal Tunnel Can Require Surgical Intervention

When carpal tunnel gets serious, surgery may be required to restore function and eliminate pain. The surgery involves cutting a ligament in the wrist to reduce pressure on the medial nerve, and typically doesn’t require general anaesthesia or an overnight stay. Pain from carpal tunnel often vanishes soon after surgery, though it can take months to recover from the procedure itself. This process tends to involve the ligaments growing back together a little less tightly, and patients may experience additional weakness, nerve pain, or stiffness during this time.

Though carpal tunnel surgery is one of the most common medical procedures, it’s still a serious undertaking, so patients would do well to avoid it when possible. Learning how to contribute to physiotherapy treatment plans can help you help others to avoid this surgery when possible, offering them a quicker path to recovery and function.

Do you want to learn how to help clients with a number of painful conditions?

Get the skills you need through Medix College’s physiotherapy assistant program!

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