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Brett Sears

Tendon Glides for Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

By August 3, 2011

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Carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS) is a condition that causes pain, numbness, and tingling in the hand and wrist.  One cause of CTS is working repetitively with the hands and wrists in a flexed position.  With so many people sitting in front of computers and tenaciously tapping texts on smartphones, it seems that CTS is becoming more and more prevalent. 

Common treatments of CTS include rest, anti-inflammatory medication, physical therapy, or occupational therapy.  Therapy procedures used to treat CTS include paraffin, heat, ice, splinting, and gliding of the tendons and nerves that pass through the carpal tunnel of the wrist.

A recent study published in the American Journal of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation explored the differences in functional outcomes between different treatment groups.  The researchers randomized 60 patients into three groups:  standard treatment only, standard treatment with nerve glides, and standard treatment with tendon glides.  Standard treatment included paraffin wax and splinting for the wrist.  Fifty three patients completed the study.

The data indicates that the use of standard treatments combined with tendon gliding exercises produced superior functional results over standard treatments combined with nerve gliding exercises and standard treatments alone.

If you are suffering from carpal tunnel syndrome, talk to your doctor or physical therapist to see if tendon gliding exercises are right for you.  You can also try the tendon glides and wrist stretches to help prevent an episode of carpal tunnel syndrome.

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