We’ve seen an influx in carpal tunnel syndrome in patients at the clinic. I believe the increase in time spent in the office at our desks added to spending time on home computers and cell phones have made mild to moderate carpal tunnel syndrome all too prevalent.
Carpal tunnel syndrome or CTS is a common nerve entrapment in the wrist that can cause numbness, tingling and pain.
Our office protocol for treating CTS primarily included paraffin therapy, therapeutic exercise and wrist orthosis. However, after doing research we found studies concluding that ultrasound therapy was more effective in treatment of CTS so we’ve recently added ultrasound therapy to our treatment regimen and let me explain why.
Treatment Modalities for Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
A patient favorite is paraffin therapy. We use it not only for our carpal tunnel syndrome sufferers, but those with rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis. The patient places their hands into heated paraffin, which does relieve pain and improves circulation. We’ve also seen an increase in range of motion in our arthritis sufferers. So not only can paraffin therapy improve symptoms, but it feels incredibly soothing to patients.
Paraffin Wax Baths are Designed to Fit both Upper and Lower Extremities
Limitations of Paraffin and Benefits of Ultrasound Treatment
However, paraffin therapy only delivers superficial heat, which is why we’ve decided to add ultrasound therapy.Ultrasound therapy includes thermal and nonthermal effects. On a thermal level, ultrasound therapy can penetrate the tissue with acoustic waves and produce a molecular vibration which actually creates heat and can facilitate pain relief. The nonthermal effects of media motion and standing waves can create tissue stimulation and in some cases be an anti-inflammatory. What’s more, these effects can be created in as little as 5 minutes twice a week.
The extended use of devices and technology that place our patients at risk for developing carpal tunnel syndrome is only going to increase, so it’s important that our treatment protocols evolve as the need evolves. Adding ultrasound therapy in addition to paraffin therapy to our patient protocols has had a tremendous positive impact in our treatment of carpal tunnel syndrome.
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