Carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS) is a condition characterized by pain, tingling, and numbness in the hands. It’s often caused by using vibrating tools or repetitive movements such as typing or playing the piano. Some cases of carpal tunnel syndrome can also be related to arthritis of the wrist, thyroid disease, and pregnancy.
The Carpal tunnel is a narrow space or tunnel within the wrist through which tendons and nerves pass. If these tendons and nerves become irritated or inflamed, stress is created in the wrist. When the median nerve is squeezed due to this stress, the blood circulation to the hands is compromised. This results in tingling, numbness, and pain in the hand.
Carpal tunnel syndrome is more common in women than men because the carpal tunnel is biologically narrow in the former. The obese and patients with diabetes are at higher risk of developing the syndrome.
Early-stage symptoms of carpal tunnel, if diagnosed and treated on time, can significantly prevent the advancement of the syndrome. Symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome include:
In the early stages, the symptoms are felt at night, but as the syndrome progresses, the symptoms are experienced in the daytime too. The pain tends to be worse at night and enough to disturb your sleep. Stretching or shaking your hand or hanging it out of bed often relieves the pain.
Wearing a wrist brace reduces wrist pain and is ideal for preventing carpal tunnel syndrome. Sleeping with the flexed wrist irritates the nerve and puts pressure on the carpal tunnel area. Carpal tunnel wrist braces place the wrist, hand, and fingers in a comfortable neutral position. You can wear carpal tunnel braces during the daytime for up to six hours. The splints reduce pain and numbness associated with carpal tunnel syndrome. The gloves keep pressure off the median nerve to prevent carpal tunnel and provide protection to the hand from vibration and impact.
Hand exercisers help the tendons to extend to their maximum potential. This reduces the swelling around the median nerve. Hand exercise therapy aims to re-establish lost hand strength and restore as much hand function as possible to carry out daily activities and improve independence and quality of life. These include hand grips that consist of a lever that must be squeezed to increase hand strength. Hand grips also help in improving dexterity. Do grip strengtheners help carpal tunnel? Hand therapy balls, grip strengtheners, and therapy putty are commonly used by people with carpal tunnel syndrome to maintain proper blood circulation in the wrist and reduce symptoms like numbness and tingling in the hand. Some of the hand therapy exercisers include hand grips, hand exercise balls, bands, palm cones, pinch exercisers, arm skates, wrist exercises, therapy putty, foam blocks, and thumb exercises.
For people who type a lot at work, ergonomic devices help prevent carpal tunnel syndrome. Ergonomic writing aids, keyboard, wrist rest, vertical mouse, and mousepad allow the fingers, palms, and wrists to be in a neutral posture.
Applying cold therapy to your wrist helps ease the pain from carpal tunnel syndrome. It is the most effective and inexpensive method for pain management. Cold therapy systems and cold packs can be used to prevent carpal tunnel syndrome. It not only helps improve quality of life but also helps achieve long-lasting pain relief and fast healing. Aircast Hand and Wrist Cryo/Cuff with Gravity Cooler is anatomically designed to completely fit the hand and wrist, providing maximum cold therapy. It combines cold and focal compression using a simple, gravity-fed system.
Healthcare professionals recommend topical analgesics since it is free of NSAID medication. It is safer than oral pain relievers and doesn’t cause complications like a drug overdose, addiction, or other harmful side effects. People who are reluctant to use painkillers and want a natural pain relief remedy see topical analgesics as an easy and safe alternative. They help people suffering from carpal tunnel syndrome to reduce wrist pain and resume their daily routine quickly.
Hand massage helps strengthen and stretch the muscles and ligaments in the hands and forearms. Electric massagers or hand-held massagers, or even foam rollers, can be used to prevent carpal tunnel syndrome.
Acupuncture helps achieve long-term pain relief by using very fine stainless-steel needles to apply pressure on the body’s 14 major energy-carrying channels, also called “meridians”. The aim is to reroute and restore energy balances or ‘chi’. Scientifically speaking, acupuncture gives pain relief by boosting the endorphins level in our body, which reduces the perception of pain. Acupuncture enhances the blood flow in the arteries, which in turn helps treat and ease the symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome. If you plan to go for acupuncture treatments, make sure to choose a licensed and certified acupuncture therapist.
Carpal tunnel syndrome is treatable with proper treatment, rest, and healthy lifestyle choices. It's important to consult a doctor to rule out other medical issues and get the best treatment advice.
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Hunaid Germanwala is digital marketer and content creator at Health Products For You since 2014. He has an MS from Ulm University in ...
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