Carpal Tunnel Ultrasonic Therapy

Carpal tunnel syndrome is a compression of the median nerve in your wrist. The nerve sits in a pathway or tunnel and when squeezed causes pain and numbness in your hand or fingers. There are several causes for carpal tunnel syndrome, including writing, driving, working with vibrating tools, repetitious work such as typing or using a mouse, and disease such as diabetes or rheumatoid arthritis, according to the Mayo Clinic. Ultrasound therapy is a non-invasive and pain-free way of treating carpal tunnel syndrome.

  1. Ultrasound Therapy

    • Ultrasound therapy is performed in a doctor's office or in an outpatient setting in a hospital. The therapy involves the use of sound waves that penetrate layers of skin to produce a healing effect. You sit on a table as the doctor applies a water-soluble gel to the wrist area. The ultrasound machine is turned to a proper setting and a transducer hooked to the machine is glided gently over the gel for 10 to 15 minutes. After treatment, the gel is wiped away and you stretch the wrist gently to provide flexibility to the joint. Your doctor selects how many sessions you need. Normally sessions are two to three a week with a gradual slowdown to one and two a week, then later to only one a week until treatment is finished. Your doctor may refer you to a physical therapist after ultrasound therapy is over to help regain strength and mobility in the wrist.

      Ultrasound therapy uses sound waves to penetrate soft tissue and encourage warmth and blood flow to the wrist area. The vibration from the sound waves promotes an increase in temperature, bringing pain relief and a decrease in inflammation. The benefits include faster healing time and a non-surgical alternative.

      This type of ultrasound therapy does have complications, including soft tissue burns and a risk of swelling in the treatment area. Patients with cancer, infections or who may have a bone fracture should not receive ultrasound therapy.

    Prevention

    • Change how you work your wrist to prevent carpal tunnel from reoccurring. This may include frequent breaks to rest your wrist or changing how you hold your wrist when accomplishing tasks.

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References

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