Living with carpal tunnel syndrome can be a particularly difficult experience. If you work a desk job, play an instrument, do competitive gaming, or basically do anything that requires repetitive motions as a living, then the condition can be downright debilitating.
Carpal tunnel syndrome affects eight million people each year in the US alone—and is the second most common musculoskeletal surgery next to back pain. CTS is caused by an inflamed or irritated median nerve, which is responsible for your hand’s motor functions. The condition is usually caused by repetitive and unnatural hand movements, which over time, pinches the median nerve and causes loss of function.
In worst-case scenarios, carpal tunnel treatment may include surgery. Despite such drastic measures, the function of the hand may not even be restored completely. This is why if you feel any tingling, numbness, weakness in your hand, and experience difficulty in maintaining a grip, it’s best to see a hand doctor immediately.
Meanwhile, here are four tips that you can try to alleviate the discomfort of living with CTS.
Adjust your wrist position
By understanding which activities put you at risk for CTS, you should be able to pinpoint which activities are exacerbating your condition. If you are a musician, you should observe proper technique and closely investigate which aspect of your playing is making your condition worse.
If you work a desk job or do any competitive gaming, then investing in ergonomic keyboards and extending armrests may be worth your while.
Wear a wrist brace
Prolonged stretching of an already inflamed wrist will aggravate irritation of the median nerve and cause pain. Depending on the actual condition of your wrist, your doctor may prescribe wearing a wrist brace. Under no circumstances should you be sourcing out a brace without your doctor’s approval, as improper use may worsen your condition!
Do some wrist stretches
Wrist stretches and other hand exercises will help blood circulate in your hands freely. This keeps your joints warm and lubricated, allowing some relief from the pain caused by CTS. Given that you do it early on, it may even help prevent the development of CTS.
To make sure that you are not doing anything that may exacerbate your condition, it’s best to consult your hand doctor before doing any stretches.
Give it a rest
It’s never a good idea to overwork your body, most of all, your hands. If you type for hours on end, it’s a good idea to take a few minutes of rest every 15 minutes or so. This helps your muscles relax and stretch, reducing any chances of an inflamed wrist muscle pinching your median nerve.
If you’re particularly uncomfortable, stop what you’re doing and rest until the pain subsides. Only return to your task when the pain is completely gone, and resume at a slower pace.
Living with CTS can be downright frustrating. Since CTS is a repetitive stress injury, it means that whatever caused it must have been something you loved to do or was your primary source of livelihood. However, the sooner that you see a hand doctor and change your habits, the sooner the pain will subside. Hopefully, you will have developed new habits that will prevent CTS from resurging.
The North Florida Hand and Wrist Center offers comprehensive carpal tunnel treatment in Jacksonville, Florida. Our experienced hand doctors have been providing the best hand and wrist care since 1995. Contact us today to know more.