There’s no getting around the fact that Carpal Tunnel Syndrome is not a fun experience. Your hands can become numb or painful. And that pain can spread throughout your wrist, you hand, and your arm. Repetitive motion can, in theory, cause Carpal Tunnel Syndrome, and that same repetitive motion can make your symptoms worse.
Should You Follow These Five Tips to Avoid Carpal Tunnel?
That’s why your best bet is to either avoid Carpal Tunnel Syndrome in the first place or find some excellent treatment for it. Simply living with Carpal Tunnel Syndrome (that is, ignoring the symptoms in the hopes they go away) is not necessarily a great long term strategy in this regard.
So what are some of the best ways you can avoid Carpal Tunnel Syndrome? That’s what we’re going to look at today. Although, it’s worth pointing out that the best place to get these kinds of answers is from a medical professional–which this article is not equivalent to. We’re just trying to start a conversation here, not offer medical advice. So talk to your hand surgeon about how you can prevent and avoid Carpal Tunnel Syndrome.
Tip #1: Practice Good Posture
Okay, this tip is really multiple tips in one, but we stand by it. One of the most aggravating activities we humans engage in–according to our wrists–is the typing. Typing and using a mouse.
That’s why when you’re working on a computer (especially if you work on a computer all day long), it’s important to make sure you’re using the right posture. Keep your elbows on the arm rests of your chair. And use a gel pad to rest your wrists if possible. Even using an ergonomic keyboard can help you keep up good posture (and keep Carpal Tunnel Syndrome at bay).
Tip #2: Wear a Wrist Brace at Night
You may also want to consider wearing a wrist brace at night. For whatever reason, Carpal Tunnel Syndrome symptoms can flare up at night (probably has something to do with fatigue). That’s why it’s often recommended that those who suffer from Carpal Tunnel Syndrome wear a wrist brace at night. You should consult with your hand surgeon about what, specifically, you should be looking for when selecting a wrist brace, but usually you want something that will keep your wrists straight.
Tip #3: Take Breaks
Whether it’s working at the computer or working on the farm, repetitive motions can make your Carpal Tunnel worse (or cause it in the first place). So one of the biggest tips we can offer is also one of the simplest: take breaks. Take a lot of breaks. One recommendation is every five minutes or so. That seems quite frequent–but it’s still good advice. However often you can space out these breaks, just make sure to take those breaks regularly and give your hands a… well, a break.
Tip #4: Engage in Some Wrist Stretches
Sometimes, though, breaks just aren’t going to be enough. That’s when you need to break out the wrist stretches. Now, there are a whole series of wrist stretches you can look into–the most common one involves placing your arm straight out in front of you and then rotating your wrists. But that won’t necessarily work for everybody and there are a wide variety of options out there. The trick is finding the wrist stretch that helps with your particular brand of hand, arm, and wrist stress.
Tip #5: If You Feel Discomfort, Change Something
If you begin to feel discomfort in your hands or wrists–and this discomfort could include pain, sure, but it could also include numbness or pins and needles. Now, this might not seem like a tip at first, but it’s important nonetheless. Many of us will try to ignore pain and discomfort, especially if it’s intermittent (and that’s often how Carpal Tunnel Syndrome begins). The thing about Carpal Tunnel is that the sooner you seek out treatment (or the sooner you change your lifestyle), the better you’ll be able to manage symptoms.
Talk to a Hand Specialist
Your hands and wrists are complicated pieces of anatomy. That’s why patients with Carpal Tunnel Syndrome-related symptoms will usually first see a hand specialist. A hand specialist will be able to help you treat your Carpal Tunnel. If necessary, you may also be referred to a hand surgeon who will be able to provide you with a surgical treatment for Carpal Tunnel Syndrome symptoms.
However, in almost all cases, prevention is a better approach than treatment. So if you haven’t experienced Carpal Tunnel Syndrome Symptoms yet, it might be a good idea to try out these tips to keep Carpal Tunnel away for as long as you can.
About the Author: Dan Voltz has been writing about plastic and cosmetic surgery for over four years. This article was written in conjunction with the staff of Dr. Charles Polsen, who is a hand surgeon in the Houston, TX, area.