Carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS) is developed due to pressure on the median nerve, causing numbness, a tingling sensation, and weakness in the arm and hand.
Numbness and loss of muscle mass at the thumb’s base are signs of nerve damage and worsening CTS. Surgery remains the best way to prevent the nerve from being damaged further until it can no longer be reversed.
While people with severe CTS symptoms must be evaluated promptly, there are ways to handle it and avoid the need to get surgery for those with mild to moderate symptoms.
Here are some things you can do:
Wear a Wrist Brace
Wearing a wrist brace helps alleviate pain and numbness and prevents the wrist from further injury. Wrist braces for CTS are designed to hold the wrist in a neutral position and prevent it from moving towards a flexed position.
Wearing a brace while sleeping will support the wrist and arm and allow the carpal tunnel to rest.
Any brace that can fit around your wrist while protecting the soft tissues should be used. Some braces are designed specifically for CTS, while others can be used for other conditions too.
Undergo Physical Therapy
Physical therapy is a great way to help with the symptoms of CTS, improve mobility, and avoid surgery. Physical therapy can help reduce swelling and restore the nerve’s ability to pass through the carpal tunnel.
Pulsed Electrotherapy is a great way to help with the pain you are feeling at night. The treatment is relatively painless and can help you get pain relief.
Practice Strength Training
Stronger muscles assist in supporting your hand and wrist and protect the nerve from the pressure of the carpal tunnel. Exercises that strengthen your hand, wrist, and forearm muscles help prevent CTS from getting worse.
Conduct Frequent Hand Exercises
It’s essential to keep the hand muscles active and strong. Activities like playing the piano or typing can help, but there are ways to improve hand strength even if you don’t use your hands for your job.
Stretching exercises can increase the range of motion in the wrist and keep muscles strong. This will prevent the wrist from weakening, making it harder for the nerves to get through the carpal tunnel.
For instance, when holding your wrist in a flexed position, try to extend it using your hand to provide resistance. Also, if the wrist is in the neutral position, try to bend it using the same method to strengthen it.
Smoking can cause or exacerbate CTS. Smoking makes the blood vessels constrict, which magnifies the pressure exerted on the median nerve.
Quit smoking and improve blood circulation to keep the carpal tunnel and the median nerve healthy and undamaged.
Being overweight can cause the carpal to swell, which aggravates CTS. Avoid gaining weight and strive to lose weight if you are overweight.
This will not only improve your health but also enhance the health of the median nerve and the carpal tunnel.
Any wrist problem can be debilitating and cause pain while doing your daily activities. When CTS is present, it’s essential to seek medical attention. Identifying and addressing the condition early on can help ease the pain and prevent future damage that may require surgery.
North Florida Hand and Wrist Center, led by Dr. Richard D. Curtis and Dr. Jose Baez, are expertly-trained hand and wrist surgeons in Jacksonville, FL, committed to providing patients with the absolute best care possible.
We are a state-of-the-art surgical facility staffed by a team of dedicated practitioners whose primary goal is to ease any hand or wrist discomfort you may experience. If you need treatment for carpal tunnel syndrome, get in touch with us! Call us at (904) 215-2422 to make an appointment.