If left untreated, carpal tunnel syndrome may lead to weakness, lack of coordination, and permanent nerve damage. When carpal tunnel syndrome begins to disrupt your daily routines you should seek professional assistance

What is carpal tunnel syndrome?

"I have visited twice for carpal tunnel in pregnancy. Harrison is very friendly, passionate and skilled at what he does. I felt improvement immediately.

The rest of the staff is very friendly and had some enjoyable chats in the waiting room with the weekday receptionist and another off-duty physio.

I love the peppermint tea available to clients and the fact that Harrison and colleagues have gone above and beyond to provide a more comfortable chair for me at 8 months pregnant as I currently am.

When I had to cancel a few appointments due to illness Harrison checked in on me personally which I appreciated. Also great that they run to a tight schedule so you are not left waiting long, if at all.

Overall a highly enjoyable visit and professional and efficient practice."

The carpal tunnel is a narrow passageway surrounded by bones and ligaments on the palm side of your hand. When the median nerve is compressed, the symptoms can include numbness, tingling and weakness in the hand and arm. 

That sensation of numbness and tingling in the hand or arm caused by the pinched nerve in the wrist it is often referred to as carpel tunnel. Your wrist anatomy, underlying health conditions and patterns of hand usage can contribute to carpal tunnel syndrome and normally you will feel pain in the hand and arm with numbness or tingling. Sometimes treatment may include rest, ice, wrist splints, cortisone injections or in extreme cases, corrective surgery.

If left untreated, carpal tunnel syndrome may lead to weakness, lack of coordination, and permanent nerve damage. When carpal tunnel syndrome begins to disrupt your daily routines you should seek professional assistance because not taking action can lead to nerve damage.

carpal tunnel illustration of a hand

Does carpal tunnel occur during pregnancy

What we see in some patients during pregnancy is that the person’s hormone levels can trigger fluid retention that can cause swelling. This swelling can, in turn, push against the median nerve in the carpal tunnel – increasing pressure in the carpal tunnel and sometimes causing pain in your wrist and hand during pregnancy.

Sleeping in a wrist flexion position is common during pregnancy and this can also lead to carpal tunnel syndrome occurring.

How do our physio's assess if you have carpal tunnel syndrome?

– Where is the pain and how bad is the pain? 

– What brought on the pain?

– How long have you had it for?

– What makes it worse?

– What is this stopping you from doing?

What can cause carpal tunnel syndrome?

– Prolonged bad wrist and arm posture.

– Excessive wrist and finger flexion. E.g., typing on a computer.

– Sleeping with your wrist in a flexed position.

How can you avoid getting carpal tunnel syndrome?

– Manual handling of muscles and tendons that are involved in the carpal tunnel to take the pressure off the wrist.

– Dry needling I have no muscles and tendons involved.

– Physiotherapy-specific exercises.

– Wrist brace if necessary.

How can Switch physio help with carpal tunnel syndrome?

The team at Switch physiotherapy in Sydney can help people with carpal tunnel syndrome treatment using our extensive experience. We can provide the appropriate manual handling and associated techniques to free up space in the carpal tunnel for the muscles and tendons to supply the wrist. 

We can also identify the true cause of the problem, and devise a plan to ease the symptoms, Improve the wrist and arm posture, and prevent a recurrence.

Common questions about carpal tunnel syndrome?

Yes, if it is managed correctly it will go away. Manager incorrectly, it may not and may get worse.
Many modalities such as wrist braces, manual handling techniques to reduce muscle tension, muscle stretches, nerve stretches and managing wrist, arm and neck postures.
Yes, during pregnancy women can adopt postures from the neck, arm and wrist that predispose them to carpal tunnel syndrome.
Poor postures are adopted daily with increased pregnancy related weight and sleeping wrist postures. This posture is evident with rounding of the shoulders and prolonged wrist flexion. This puts strain on the structures going through the carpal tunnel in the wrist. The tightness in the wrist muscle flexors and nerves from the neck into the anterior wrist get trapped in the tunnel.
While you are sleeping, your wrists are adopting a flexed position. This decreases the space in the carpal tunnel. The nerves that go through the tunnel are trapped and that can cause numbness in the hands.
Use a brace to help maintain a neutral wrist position.

Yes, it can help to move and strengthen the muscles in the carpal tunnel. This will decrease the irritation of those muscles in the tunnel and decrease symptoms.

Yes, depending on the severity. If treated and managed correctly before symptoms progress to a severe case, then it can be fixed without surgery.
All fingers can be affected. Generally the small ‘pinky’ finger is not affected.

Yes, by a treating medical practitioner.

Wear a brace when you sleep. A brace can be used to keep the wrist in neutral or in wrist extension to allow the nerves going through the carpal tunnel room to innovate the hands correctly. If the nerves are obstructed, they can cause numbness in the hands.
If you get pins, needles and/ or numbness and it does not respond to a recommended course of Physiotherapy management and treatment.
No. It will only get worse if it is gone untreated and mismanaged. Seek help and advice from a medical practitioner.
Anything that irritates the muscle tendons and nerves that go through the carapace tunnel. These include pregnancy, poor sleeping postures, arthritis, excessive wrist movements (typing or gripping tasks).
Depends on severity. Anywhere between a month to several months.
Earlier the better. Seeing your doctor and a treating medical practitioner such as a physiotherapist is vital to limiting the severity and recovering.
A wrist extension stretch against the wall with your elbow straight. A prayer pose with elbows bent and hands together. Soft ball squeezes
Carpal tunnel syndrome generally displays symptoms of hand numbness, forearm muscle tightness and night pain whereas arthritis does not show neural signs. However, it can present very similar so it is best to get it checked out. An X-ray or US can also confirm the diagnosis.
Anti-inflammatory drugs can assist with the symptoms by decreasing the irritation in the carpal tunnel. However, it must be guided and directed by your medical practitioner and you must ensure it is treated and managed correctly otherwise it will not work.
  • Ice pack is best to decrease the inflammation in the carpal tunnel space and elevate the pressure on the muscle tendons and nerve.  
Foods that encourage inflammation. For example, fried foods.
During the night the wrist can adopt a natural wrist flexed position which closes the space down in the carpal tunnel. Further, at night the muscles are inactive and tissue fluid in the arm is redistributed as their is no muscle pump. Therefore the carpal tunnel can build up with pressure.
During sleep, the muscles in the body relax which can lead to sleeping in the ‘fetal position’ and that causes the wrist to flex.
The tendons that go through the carpal tunnel originate from muscles in the forearm. The nerves that go through the carpal tunnel originate in the neck and shoulder. Muscles and nerves in the arm can then affect the carpal tunnel and the carpal tunnel can have an affect on the strain to these muscles and nerves too.

Through an assessment performed by a physiotherapist in Sydney like the Switch Health Group who have clinics in Concord, Maroubra or Penshurst

Carpal Tunnel is a syndrome and it can be seen as a temporary disability as it will impact the ability to use the hand, wrist and occasionally the arm. This is not a permanent disability and can be resolved with the correct treatment and management from a physiotherapist.
Carpal Tunnel is a syndrome if it is gone untreated and poorly managed it will continually to get worse. The earlier it is detected and managed by a treating health practitioner the less serious it will be. It must be noted that it can become serious and may need an operation if it is ignored.


An experienced physiotherapist located in Sydney and the General Manager of the Switch Health Group in Sydney.