Study of Participants with Carpal Tunnel Syndrome and How They Felt With Kinesiology Taping Applied

0
968
banner-mobile

Carpal tunnel is a common condition that affects 3 to 6% of adults. It can be aggravated by certain lifestyle factors, including smoking, repetitive motion, trauma, a high body mass index (BMI) and other factors. It is one of the most common entrapment neuropathy, meaning a disorder that affects the nerves “characterized by pain and/or loss of function (motion or sensory) of the median nerves as a result of chronic compression.”

Carpal tunnel symptoms

Carpal tunnel symptoms can include:

Tingling or Numbness

  • You might notice tingling, numbness or both, in your fingers or hand.
  • It is typically felt in the index, middle or ring fingers.
  • You might feel an electric shock in the fingers that are affected.
  • The sensation may travel up to your wrist and arm as well.
  • You typically feel this symptom when holding a steering wheel, or your phone, or it may wake you up from your sleep.
  • Most people suffering from carpal tunnel will “shake out” their hands in an attempt to relieve symptoms.
  • The feeling of numbness might become constant over time.

Weakness

  • You might experience weakness in your hands and grip strength.
  • Might cause you to drop objects.
  • May be due to the numbness in your hand or thumb pinching muscles.

Other Symptoms

  • Fingers might feel swollen even though they do not look like it.
  • You have a hard time working with small objects like the buttons on a shirt, or a zipper.
  • It is harder to make a fist than it used to be.

In severe cases…

  • You can lose muscle mass at the base of your thumb.
  • You may no longer be able to tell hot from cold by touch.

Treatments of Carpal Tunnel

The treatment route doctors may take for carpal tunnel depends on how severe the case is. Patients with mild disease symptoms can do six weeks to three months of conservative treatment. This can include lifestyle changes like stopping or decreasing repetitive motions or using ergonomic devices. However, there is inconsistent evidence that proves their effectiveness. For those with moderate to severe forms of the disease, steroid injections and wrist splints are one of the common treatments. Some patients with extremely severe cases of the disease may even be considered for surgical treatment.

Kinesiology Tape as a Treatment for Carpal Tunnel

Kinesiology Tape

A study published online in the Journal of Exercise and Rehabilitation found kinesiology tape to be a viable treatment for carpal tunnel. Taping is included in the “conservative treatment” category.

The study utilized electrophysical examination in order to collect information that is more accurate on nerve function and nerve damage on the median nerve. Electrophysical examination was chosen because it is more accurate than other forms of examinations.

Since the median nerve is the exact part of the body that is being injured or stressed, this study focuses on the effects taping has to do with rectifying the median nerve itself. There has been evidence that the use of taping as conservative therapy of CTS has been proven to control pain, allow functionality in the wrist and increased grip strength, but there has been little evidence of its effects on the median nerve.

Conservative treatments like kinesiology tape are only used for those with cases of mild symptoms of CTS. The tape is used to support the wrist and pulls the wrist in order to “reduce pressure on the carpal tunnel and induce proper relaxation.” In many cases, those with mild CTS are not treated or are neglected, which then results in most cases becoming more severe as time goes on. Patients experience worsening symptoms, wrist pains, and numbness appear with time as well.

Method

The study took place in Seoul, Korea and recruited 20 female patients between 40 and 60 years old who were diagnosed with CTS. Kinesiology tape was applied in a Y-shape, which was removed after 48 hours and then replaced after a 24 hour rest period. Other forms of taping were performed, such as muscle taping, correction taping and carpal taping.

The Results

Distal motor latency (DML) and sensory nerve conduction (SNCV) was shown to change significantly after four weeks of the study. DML refers to the time in milliseconds that it takes the “impulse to travel from the stimulation point at the wrist to the recording electrode.” SNCV has to do with whether the nerves transmit electrical impulses to the muscles or up sensory nerves at normal speeds. In layman’s terms, DML is how fast your physical reaction time or physical action time is when moving your wrist or hand and SNCV has to do more with sensory things like touch, temperature and vibration. The slower these two measures are, the more severe CTS can be, or other diseases. It is important to have a DML and SNCV at normal speeds.

After the electrophysiological testing, DML and SNCV were shown to improve dramatically after the carpal tunnel decompression. These two factors are the “fastest indicators of improvement on the median nerve and important indicator in clinical practice.”

Conclusion

Since the study was only conducted on patients suffering from mild symptoms, there was no meaningful change in the more physical symptoms of CTS (like loss of range of motion, etc.). Despite this, the study found that kinesiology taping as treatment for mild carpal tunnel syndrome resulted in positive changes in the median nerve “by reducing pressure of the carpal tunnel and improving the damaged median nerve.”

This means that kinesiology taping as a conservative treatment for mild carpal tunnel syndrome can be helpful in order to prevent CTS from progressing to a more severe stage. This is an important discovery and should be studied further. But for now, if you suffer from mild CTS, or were diagnosed for it, this can be a great help in your journey to recovery. Even if you find that you have pain in the wrist but have not been diagnosed, consider using kinesiology tape to prevent further damage to your wrist and nerves.

author bio

Author’s Bio

Robyn Hang is a content writer for BreezeMaxWeb. When she’s not writing, you can find her singing karaoke in her car or brushing up on her Mandarin.