Heat can be an effective treatment for wrist injuries. Low-level continuous heat for up to eight hours was used in this study. All patients had wrist problems such as sprains, strains, or carpal tunnel syndrome. A special heated wrist wrap was worn for three days.
Pain level, joint stiffness, and grip strength were measured before starting treatment. These measures were taken again every hour for the first eight hours, then every two hours after that. Patients were followed for three days of treatment plus two days after treatment.
Results showed that pain relief occurred during the first three days for all wrist patients. Patients with carpal tunnel syndrome had the most relief from joint stiffness. Grip strength increased at the end of the treatment on day three.
The authors conclude that low-level continuous heat wraps can help in the treatment of common wrist problems. It’s likely that the heat increases blood flow to the area. Blood helps remove cells of inflammation in the area of tissue injury. The collagen tissue and muscles then become more flexible.