8 Ways to Lower Your Risk of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
Carpal tunnel syndrome is a nerve problem affecting the wrist, hand, and fingers. The condition develops when the major nerve running into your hand, known as the median nerve, becomes squeezed and compressed. Symptoms include wrist pain, tingling fingers, numbness, and decreased hand dexterity. These problems may occur in one or both wrists. While there’s no surefire way to prevent carpal tunnel syndrome, you can lower your risk and minimize symptoms with these eight tips.
- Use a softer touch: Be careful not to grip tools tighter than necessary or pound your computer keyboard when a gentle touch will do. Then, remain aware of any excessive tension in your hands and wrists throughout the day.
- Take frequent breaks: Repetitive activities such as sewing and knitting, typing on a keyboard, working a cash register, and strumming a guitar can cause wrist strain. To prevent carpal tunnel syndrome, take a 10- to 15-minute break every hour.
- Perform simple hand and wrist exercises: During your breaks, stretch your hands and wrists to promote muscle relaxation. First, rotate your wrists in slow circles. Then, alternate between making a fist and fanning out your fingers. Finally, flex each wrist in both directions, pressing it against the opposite hand to deepen the stretch.
- Modify your workstation: If you work at a computer all day, make your workspace as ergonomic as possible to prevent straining your hands, wrists, and elbows. This may include getting a new keyboard, investing in an office chair with armrests, and buying a more supportive mouse pad.
- Watch your posture: Make sure you hold your wrists at a neutral angle during repetitive tasks to avoid pinching the median nerve. Then, avoid slouching and hold your arms close to your body to prevent additional hand and wrist strain.
- Switch up repetitive tasks: If you usually perform specific tasks with your right hand, switch to using your left hand for a few minutes, if possible. Switching to an entirely new activity when your hands get tired can also help lower your risk of carpal tunnel syndrome.
- Keep your hands warm: Pain and stiffness worsen when you’re cold, so wear gloves as needed to keep your hands and wrists warm.
- Visit a chiropractor: All nerves in the body, including the median nerve, originate in the spinal column. That’s why chiropractic adjustments can significantly impact your entire nervous system. Chiropractors can also manipulate local areas, including the hand, wrist, and arm, to alleviate discomfort in these areas. Additional care, including ultrasonic wave treatments and massage therapy, can further relax affected muscles and reduce inflammation that leads to carpal tunnel syndrome.
Effective Integrative Healthcare offers a range of holistic treatments for carpal tunnel syndrome and other causes of chronic pain, each backed by scientific findings and administered by medical practitioners. If you’re ready to begin down the path to a pain-free way of life, please schedule a free consultation at our office in Crofton or Millersville, MD.