The Effect Of Ultrasound On Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

2261 words - 9 pages

Running head: ULTRASOUND AND CARPAL TUNNEL SYNDROME The Effects of Ultrasonic Therapy on Carpal Tunnel Syndrome Introduction Ultrasound Therapy In therapy, many different heating agents are used to treat patients. Heat enhances joint mobility, reduces pain, and increases blood flow to an area. To receive the optimal benefits from heat, the patient's tissue temperature must be raised to 105 to 113 degrees. Therapists must be cautious of any temperatures that exceed 113 degrees. Contraindications to using heat are sensory deficits, acute diagnoses, elderly and pediatric populations, and patients suffering from vascular impairment (Pedretti & Early, 2001).One of the most prevalent heating agents is therapeutic ultrasound. According to Pedretti and Early (2001), ultrasound is a technique that is utilized by penetrating the deep muscles through sound waves. A transducer generates these sound waves, when the waves reach the tissues, they vibrate the molecules causing friction, allowing for the production of heat. The therapist gently massages the patient's limb in a rhythmic motion with the transducer, allowing the sound waves to reach the deep muscles. To promote this deep penetration a gel is applied to the limb in which the transducer glides across when massaging. The MHz setting dictates the frequency of the sound waves. The W/cm2 is the intensity or the depth to which the heat can reach. For example, at 1 W/cm2, heat can travel up to 5cm in depth. Ultrasound can also be used as a nonthermal agent in therapy. The sound waves can penetrate different anti-inflammatory medications into the skin without the use of heat. This technique is typically referred to as phonophoresis. Ultrasound can be used on diagnoses such as carpal tunnel syndrome, lateral epicondylitis, and calcific shoulder. Therapists use ultrasound to treat "joint contractures, scarring with associated adhesions and muscle spasms" (Pedretti & Early, 2001, p.521). Many professionals, such as occupational and physical therapists use ultrasound when treating their patients. Rehabilitation aides are also trained in the use of ultrasound therapy.Carpal Tunnel Syndrome According to Ebenbichler, Resch, Nicolakis, and Wiesinger (1998) carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS) is one of the most common types of nerve entrapments. CTS's are caused by compression of the median nerve in the carpal tunnel of the wrist. Symptoms include numbness and tingling in the digits innervated by this nerve and weakness in digit I abduction. Repetitive motions such as flexion and extension of the wrist induce CTS. Treatments vary from stretching education to surgery.Review of the Literature Ultrasound Therapy on Carpal Tunnel Syndrome Ebenbichler, Resch, Nicolakis, and Wiesinger (1998) explored the effect of ultrasound on carpal tunnel syndrome. The purpose of the study was to evaluate the effectiveness of ultrasound therapy for the patient suffering from mild to moderate...

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