Advances in Research for Post-Operative Exercise
Carpel Tunnel is characterised by numbness, tingling and pain in the thumb and first 3 fingers of the hand. It is caused by a compression of the median nerve as it passes into the hand. Symptoms can often be worse at night. It can affect anyone, and is commonly seen in pregnancy due to increased fluid retention around the wrist and hand.
Conservative treatments are recommended as initial management. This should include avoiding activities that worsen the compression, using a wrist splint, and trying to reduce any swelling in the hands.
In the unlucky few cases, surgery is required in which the nerve is decompressed.
Research shows that early mobilisation post operatively results in an improvement in pain, grip and pinch strength, as well as a reduction in the time to return to activities of daily living and work, compared to immobilisation. So, early movement will aid recovery.
A recent study by Maria Dolores Cortes Vega looked into using a digital program on a tablet for hand exercises. They demonstrated the group completing the tablet-based exercises showed improved functional ability compared to the control group which completed exercises on paper. Tasks requiring high attention and precision (such as in the tablet-based exercises) improve integration between the brain and the muscle.
It’s great to see how advances in technology are being used to improve rehabilitation.