15 May 5 Tips for Dealing With Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
Wrist & Hand Discomfort?
Your wrists ache, your fingers tingle, your grip is inconsistent, and you have numbness in your hand. And it’s no wonder. You type all day long at a computer. Sometimes the pain and tingling even wake you up at night.
You think you may have carpal tunnel syndrome. But what exactly is carpal tunnel syndrome? Is it just a tingling hand? Or is it more specific?
What is Carpal Tunnel Syndrome?
Carpal tunnel is a condition that stems from compression of the median nerve. this important nerve runs down your forearm to your hand, passing through the carpal tunnel in your wrist. This tunnel is basically the space under the “carpal arch,” made up of eight small bones in the wrist.
When the carpal arch falls, it sandwiches the median nerve between the bones and ligaments of the wrist. This causes the numbness, tingling, pain, and ultimately immobility of the wrist, thumb, and hand.
Though many people live with it for years, carpal tunnel syndrome is a serious condition. It limits your quality of life, your productivity at work and at home, and keeps you from doing things you love. It can even result in the loss of a career for many. So here are 5 tips for dealing with carpal tunnel syndrome.
1. What seems like carpal tunnel syndrome may not be.
The “good news” is that you may not have carpal tunnel syndrome at all. Many people who think they have CTS actually suffer from wrist tendinitis. Though the symptoms often mirror carpal tunnel, tendinitis is somewhat easier to treat. Surgery is required less often for tendinitis than for CTS.
2. It doesn’t just come from typing all day.
It’s true that the rise of computer use across all segments of society has increased the incidence of carpal tunnel syndrome. However, even in developing countries, where computer use is rare, many people develop the condition. Repetitive stress on the hands from the use of tools and a lack of variety in activity are major contributors.
So if you work on a computer, or if you’re a hair stylist or assembly line worker, you may be at risk for either tendinitis or CTS. Using any tool for long periods of time can cause inflammation and lead to the condition. Diabetes, pregnancy, and rheumatoid arthritis may also be contributors.
3. Create variety for your body.
No matter what you do, whether it’s typing, working with tools, cutting hair, or knitting, your body needs a break. Doing anything for long periods of time can cause repetitive stress injuries. So whatever you do, try to create variety.
You may need to restructure your work so that you go back and forth between activities rather than doing the same thing for hours. If you can’t, at least try and adjust your posture often. Instead of typing all day, try a dictation app or device. Instead of retyping, copy and paste.
4. Try these ergonomic solutions.
If you spend hours at a computer, there are several ergonomic solutions that may help avoid repetitive stress on your wrists and hands. Here are a few suggestions:
- Try adjusting your desk & chair height to allow you to work with your elbows at a 90-degree angle. This allows for the best circulation and the least stress.
- Find an ergonomic keyboard. Try several out and choose one that follows the natural position of your arms as you type.
- To help keep your wrists in a neutral posture, try a wrist pad. Again, shop around and find one that feels natural to you.
- One of the most helpful inventions of late is the vertical mouse. This allows you to point and click while keeping your wrist in its most natural position.
5. Take breaks for stretching and massage.
Remember, carpal tunnel syndrome is a repetitive stress injury. So it’s not the activity itself you need to avoid, but the repetition. So take plenty of breaks. Use that time to stretch your hands and wrists and do some self-massage. This can increase blood flow and decrease inflammation.
Come in for a free consultation.
If you think you may have Carpal Tunnel Syndrome, or if you are concerned that your lifestyle or work habits may put you at risk, Travis Chiropractic is ready to help. We can help you understand where your symptoms are coming from and what it will take to improve, then design specialized treatment plans to give you freedom of motion and freedom from the debilitating pain and numbness of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome!
When a patient comes in with complaints of wrist or hand pain and numbness, we start with a medical history and physical to learn about underlying risks and conditions. We combine this information with state of the art testing to explore the spine and the nerves for signs of damage. Then we can put together a specific treatment plan based on our findings.
Call 918-224-2225 today to schedule your free consultation!