Carpal Tunnel Syndrome and how to avoid it
What is Carpal Tunnel Syndrome?
Carpal Tunnel Syndrome is a common condition that affects the hand and wrist. It occurs when the median nerve, which runs from the forearm to the hand, becomes compressed or squeezed at the wrist. This can cause pain, numbness, and tingling in the hand and fingers.
Am I at risk?
There are several factors that can contribute to the development of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome. Repetitive hand and wrist movements, such as typing on a computer, can lead to the development of the condition. Other risk factors include pregnancy, obesity, diabetes, and certain medical conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis.
What does it feel like?
Symptoms of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome include tingling and numbness in the hand and fingers, especially the thumb and index finger. Pain and weakness in the hand and wrist may also be present. In severe cases, the condition can lead to chronic pain and weakness in the hand, making it difficult to perform everyday tasks such as gripping objects or buttoning clothing.
How is it treated?
While surgery is one option for treating Carpal Tunnel Syndrome, there are also several non-surgical options that can help to prevent and improve the condition. Physical and Occupation therapy can often be utilized for more serious conditions prior to considering surgery. However, some basic methods listed below can greatly reduce chances of needing medical attention.
Perform wrist exercises.
Specific exercises can help to strengthen the muscles in the hand and wrist, reducing the risk of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome. These may include wrist and finger stretches into flexion and extension with prolonged holds up to 15 seconds repeated up to 10 times. These combined with forearm strengthening exercises will improve overall wrist and hand function.
Making changes to your work environment, such as using a standing desk or adjustable chair, can help to reduce the risk of developing Carpal Tunnel Syndrome. Proper ergonomic equipment, such as wrist pads and keyboard tray, can also help to reduce strain on the hand and wrist.
Taking regular breaks from repetitive tasks, such as typing, can help to reduce constant strain on small tendons on the hands and wrists and decrease the risk of developing Carpal Tunnel Syndrome.
By following these tips, you can help to prevent and improve Carpal Tunnel Syndrome without the need for surgery. Remember to always consult with a healthcare professional if you are experiencing symptoms of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome, as they can provide personalized treatment recommendations based on your specific needs.