Physical Therapy and Rehabilitation


Nerve Compression (Carpal, Cubital Tunnel Syndromes)

Nervous system is made up of nerves that convey messages and transmit necessary orders from the body to the brain and from the brain to the body. Nervous system is divided into two systems which are central nervous system (brain and spinal cord) and the peripheral nervous system (nerves associated with spinal cord). Peripheral nerves pass through muscles in the body and arms and legs. Along this process, they go through fine and narrow passages in certain body parts. However, in certain cases, nerves undergo compression while going through such passages and nerve compressions may take place.

Nerve compressions are from a common group of diseases. Age, gender and race could not be found to have any effect on their formation. Listed below are the causes of nerve compression but there are also cases which occur outside these causes and the cause of which could not be detected.

  • Trauma and fractures
  • Cysts and tumors formed around the nerves
  • Causes related to birth
  • Rheumatic diseases, thyroid diseases, diabetes, and other neurological diseases, hematological diseases , gout
  • Factors such as alcoholism, smoking, obesity
  • Hormonal changes , such as pregnancy, menopause
  • Occupational diseases (recurrent and challenging joint movements)
  • Burns

The most common type of nerve compression is known as "Carpal Tunnel Syndrome" and affects fingers along with wrist. This diseases emerges as compression at the level of the wrist of the nerve going into the first four fingers of the hand and is mostly seen in housewives and those frequently using their hands because of their occupation. Its most important symptom is numbness of the hand. Sometimes there can be pain. Patients indicate relief when they shake their hands. Strength of fingers decreases with time and items held by hand begin to fall.

A similar condition develops in especially those wearing pointed, high-heeled shoes and heavy-duty employees, and is called "Tarsal Tunnel Syndrome". Symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome occur in the ankle and toes.

Nerve impulses are measured by a precision technique called EMG and nerve compression level is detected. Physical therapy methods are applied to cases which are not in a very advanced stage and in which loss of strength hasn't developed yet. In advanced cases, surgical procedures are applied. Nerve passage is relieved by an operation on the wrist or ankle. After the surgery, physical therapy and rehabilitation program is applied in an attempt to eliminate joint stiffness and strengthen the muscles.