Carpal tunnel is a common injury that can occur in the workplace. And while there are many ways to treat it, the best way to deal with carpal tunnel is to prevent it from happening in the first place. Whether you are at risk of developing carpal tunnel or are already experiencing symptoms, there are several things you can do to manage this painful condition. In this post, you will find several tips on how to avoid carpal tunnel and treat it.
What Is Carpal Tunnel?
Carpal tunnel is a condition that can cause pain and numbness in the hands and fingers. The carpal tunnel is a narrow passageway in the wrist surrounded by bones and ligaments. The median nerve, which controls movement and feeling in the thumb and first three fingers, runs through the carpal tunnel. When the median nerve is compressed, it can cause pain, tingling, and numbness in the hand and fingers. Carpal tunnel syndrome is a common condition affecting millions of people yearly.
While the exact cause of carpal tunnel syndrome is unknown, it is believed to be related to the repetitive motion of the wrist, such as typing or using a mouse. Treatment for carpal tunnel syndrome typically includes wearing a splint at night to keep the wrist from bending, taking breaks during extended typing or mouse use, and stretching exercises. In severe cases, surgery may be necessary to release the pressure on the median nerve.
Tips To Avoid Carpal Tunnel
If you are at risk of developing carpal tunnel syndrome, several things you can do to prevent it. However, even if you are unaware of being at risk, these tips can still help reduce your chances of developing the condition.
Stretch Your Wrist Throughout The Day
How often do you stop to stretch your wrists during the day? If you are like most people, the answer is probably not often enough. Stretching your wrist several times a day can help reduce the risk of carpal tunnel syndrome. Stretching the muscles and tendons around the wrist can help to prevent carpal tunnel syndrome.
Taking breaks throughout the day to stretch and move your wrists can help keep them flexible and reduce the risk of carpal tunnel syndrome. One great stretch is to hold your arm out in front of you with the palm facing down. Use your other hand to pull the fingers back towards the body gently. Hold this stretch for 30 seconds and repeat it several times.
Use A Wrist Rest
If you want something to help support your wrists while typing, look no further than a wrist rest. A wrist rest helps to keep the wrists in a neutral position, which minimizes the risk of developing carpal tunnel syndrome. In addition, it helps ease the symptoms of existing syndrome cases. Wrist rests come in various shapes and sizes, so choosing one that fits your specific needs is important.
If you spend a lot of time typing on a computer, for example, you might want to choose a wrist rest that is slightly angled to provide support for your wrists. With proper use, a wrist rest can help you avoid the pain and discomfort of carpal tunnel syndrome.
Be Mindful Of Your Posture
While carpal tunnel is often associated with office work, it can also be caused by activities like knitting or playing the piano. Luckily regardless of what may cause it, there are several things you can do to prevent carpal tunnel, including being mindful of your posture. Maintaining good posture ensures that your muscles and joints are in alignment. This reduces strain on the median nerve and helps to prevent compression.
Typically this means keeping your wrists in a neutral position and avoiding activities that require you to bend your wrists for extended periods of time. If you are going to be doing an activity that requires bending your wrists, take breaks often to give your hands and fingers a rest.
Change Your Mouse Settings
As you may already know, if left untreated, carpal tunnel can lead to permanent damage of the nerves in the hand. Another way to help prevent carpal tunnel is to change your mouse settings. For example, you can increase the pointer speed or change the button configuration to reduce the amount of pressure on your hand and wrist.
You can also try using a different type of mouse, such as an optical mouse or a trackball mouse. By making a few simple changes, you can help to prevent carpal tunnel and keep your hands healthy.
Use Less Force And Grip
Carpal tunnel can be caused by various activities, such as typing or using a mouse for long periods. However, one of the most common causes of carpal tunnel is gripping a steering wheel too tightly. When driving, it’s important to maintain a loose grip on the steering wheel. This will help reduce the pressure on the wrists and prevent carpal tunnel.
Keep in mind that this is true for gripping any type of object. Try to use a light grip and avoid excessive force whenever possible. This will help to reduce the risk of developing carpal tunnel syndrome.
Methods For Managing Carpal Tunnel
In the unfortunate event that you develop carpal tunnel syndrome, there are several methods for managing the condition. Including:
Wearing A Wrist Splint: A wrist splint is a device that helps to immobilize the wrist and hand. It is often worn at night to keep the wrist in a neutral position and prevent further damage to the median nerve.
Heat Treatment: Applying heat to the affected area can help to reduce swelling and pain. Heat treatment can be done with a heating pad or warm compress.
Cold Treatment: Cold treatment helps to numb the pain and reduce inflammation. It can be done with a cold pack or ice wrapped in a towel.
Undergoing Physical Therapy: Physical therapy can help to strengthen the muscles and ligaments around the wrist. This can reduce pain and swelling caused by carpal tunnel syndrome.
Taking Medication: In some cases, medication may be necessary to manage the pain and swelling associated with carpal tunnel syndrome. Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) or corticosteroids can be used to reduce inflammation. If over-the-counter medications are not effective, your doctor may prescribe stronger medication.
Surgery: In severe cases of carpal tunnel syndrome, surgery may be necessary to release the pressure on the median nerve. This is typically a last resort and is only considered when other methods have failed.
Follow This Guide To Avoid Carpal Tunnel!
Carpal tunnel syndrome is a condition that can cause pain, numbness, and tingling in the hand and wrist. It is caused by compression of the median nerve. This condition most frequently affects people who work with their hands, such as office workers or assembly line workers. However, anyone can develop carpal tunnel syndrome. Fortunately, there are several steps you can take to prevent this condition. By following the tips above, you can help to keep your hands healthy and avoid carpal tunnel syndrome.