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What is Carpal Tunnel and How to Avoid it

We often experience painful hands by engaging in something repetitive such as typing or from using gadgets constantly. However, the pain becomes abnormal once you experience it all the time. If you feel numbness, weakness, or a tingling sensation in your hands, then you may be suffering from carpal tunnel syndrome.

Carpal tunnel syndrome happens when there is an excessive pressure on the median nerve within your arm and wrist. Your hands are not only made up of muscles, bones, tendons, and ligaments. They are also comprised of nerve endings and the median nerve is the main nerve that runs along the upper limbs. This nerve does not only control the movement of the hands but also the feeling of most of your fingers such as the thumb and first three fingers. So, if you are suffering from carpal tunnel syndrome, you will experience pain on half of your ring fingers, index finger, thumb, and middle finger. Several tendons also run along the forearm along with the median nerve and they run through a small space on the wrist called the carpal tunnel.

Carpal Tunnel Causes

Carpal tunnel syndrome occurs when there is too much pressure on the median nerve. The pressure may come from inflammation of the median nerve or tendons surrounding it. Other carpal tunnel causes include:

• Making the same hand movements, such as bending your hands lower than the wrist level
• Illnesses like rheumatoid arthritis, diabetes and hypothyroidism
• Pregnancy

Pain in the hands and wrists should not be immediately associated with carpal tunnel syndrome. Your doctor needs to evaluate your condition first before making a diagnosis. What happens is that, first, your doctor will need to know if you suffer from other health problems like the ones mentioned above. Next, your doctor will ask if you suffer any pain on your arm or neck as wrist pain can sometimes be related to other types of pain.

Your doctor will ask about your daily activities that may lead to wrist pain. Lastly, your doctor may require you to get nerve and blood tests to single out carpal tunnel syndrome.

Carpal Tunnel Treatment

Carpal tunnel syndrome can be painful but it can also be treated and managed with home care practices. One of the most important things that you need to do is to stop doing any activities that are causing you pain. If you have been doing repetitive activities for a long time, make sure that you let your wrist rest in between activities. Additionally, ice your wrist for at least 15 minutes every two hours or until the pain subsides.

If the pain still lingers, you can apply non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) to help reduce the pain and swelling. If you are not using your hands, wrap the affected area with a splint and bandage so that you take off the pressure from the median nerve. Surgery can also be an option but is only available to people who suffer severe and crippling symptoms.

The sooner that you start treating your carpal tunnel syndrome, the higher your chances of preventing more damage to your median nerve.

How to Prevent Carpal Tunnel Syndrome?

Carpal Tunnel Treatment is effective in managing your condition but why wait for treatment options if you can prevent carpal tunnel syndrome from ever happening? Below are tips on how you can prevent carpal tunnel syndrome from wrecking your wrists.

• Relax your grip: If you use more force when you grip than what is needed in doing tasks, then you are at risk of getting carpal tunnel syndrome. Whether you are doing repetitive tasks or not, it is always crucial to relax your grip so that you don’t put too much stress and pressure on your wrist and eventually on your median nerve.

• Take a break: It is always beneficial to give your hands and wrist a break. Gently bend and stretch them constantly to break the abuse that you inflict on your hands. Take a 15-minute break to relax your hands. If you find it difficult to take a break, use an alarm clock if needed.

• Keep your hands warm at all times: If your hands are constantly cold, it is prone to become stiff and develop pain over time. So, make sure that you keep your hands warm at all times. But if you cannot control the temperature, wear fingerless gloves to keep them warm.

• Improve your posture: Having an incorrect posture especially when sitting down can make your shoulders roll forward leading to shortening your shoulder and neck muscles thus compressing the nerves on your neck. In turn, this also affects the median nerve.

Carpal tunnel syndrome may be painful but it does not mean that you need to suffer. Managing and implementing the tips mentioned in the article will help prevent you from suffering from this condition.

Discover several tips for maintaining healthy work habits while avoiding chronic pain, and visit CRPM to learn more about chronic pain treatment in Orange County.

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