Posted on 08/16/2017
How To Minimize Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
How To Minimize Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
What is carpal tunnel syndrome?
Carpal tunnel syndrome refers to a condition in which the main nerve that serves the wrist and hand becomes compressed. When this nerve, known as the median nerve, comes under pressure, it affects the ability of the neurons that pass through it to transmit the right information to your hand and wrist. Subsequently, the patient experiences a range of unpleasant symptoms, some of which that compromise on their ability to retain the full function of their hand and wrist.
What are the symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome?
Carpal tunnel syndrome can be characterized by the following symptoms:
- Strange sensations in the fingers, hand and wrist which include buzzing, tingling and prickling.
- Numbness of the hands and fingers.
- A feeling of weakness in the hand and wrist, sometimes accompanied by an inability to grip or support things.
- Pain in the hand or wrist. This can vary from mild to moderate, and can spread to the forearm, upper arm and even shoulder.
Who does carpal syndrome effect?
Carpal tunnel most commonly affects people aged over 40. However, there are other factors which can put you at increased risk of developing the condition. These include:
- Gender. Women are three times more likely to develop the condition, which is believed to be because they have smaller carpal tunnels.
- Weight. Obese people have been shown to be at increased risk of developing carpal tunnel.
- Health problems. Those people who have been diagnosed with other chronic health conditions such as diabetes or underactive thyroid may be more likely to suffer from carpal tunnel syndrome.
- Past injury to the wrist. If you have previously injured your wrist in an accident, you may be more at risk of developing carpal tunnel syndrome in the future.
- Repetitive strain. If you work or take part in recreational activity that places repeated strain on your wrist, you could increase your chance of suffering from carpal tunnel syndrome. This includes people who spend a great deal of time typing, playing golf or tennis or even doing needlework.
How you can minimize your risk of developing carpal tunnel syndrome
If you are in one of the groups described above and think you are at increased risk of developing carpal tunnel syndrome, then you almost certainly want to know what steps you can take to minimize the threat and maintain fully-functioning, pain-free hands and wrists.
Although there is no absolute way of ensuring that you do not suffer from carpal tunnel syndrome at some point during your lifetime, there are ways that you can help to reduce the likelihood of it happening.
Regular rest breaks
One of the most important things you can do to protect against carpal tunnel syndrome is to ensure you rest your hands regularly. Breaking away from your computer, sport or other activity for at least five to ten minutes in every hour of using your hands is ideal. This doesn’t mean you can’t do something else productive during that time, but it will give the muscles and tendons in your hand chance to change position and relax.
Get the right modifications
If you work in an office environment then you may wish to take advantage of the aides that are now available to help reduce the risk of developing carpal tunnel and other repetitive strain injuries. These include special computer mice, and wrist rests for using a keyboard.
Many businesses are now hot on ensuring their employees are comfortable – and therefore more productive – at work, so if you think you could benefit from such modifications, it may be worth having a chat with your human resources department.
Keep your hands warm
Hands that are cold are more likely to become stiff, causing you to experience discomfort and even limited movement. If you work in a cold environment, or you cannot cold the temperature in your office, invest in wearing gloves wherever possible to keep your hands and wrists warm and supple.
Do hand and wrist exercises
Hand and wrist exercises are simple to do, can be completed virtually any time and don’t require any special equipment. In addition to warming the hands up, they stretch muscles, tendons and the median nerve itself, preventing them from becoming cramped and tight during the day and reducing the risk of developing carpal tunnel syndrome.
If you are suffering from carpal tunnel syndrome, or are worried that you are seriously at risk of developing the condition and would like further advice, our professional and experienced team would be delighted to help you. Please give us a call or drop into our comfortable office in Oakland, CA.
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