Carpal tunnel syndrome is a medical condition that is slowly becoming more common in today’s society. The condition occurs when the medial nerve, which runs from your arm into the palm of your hand, becomes compressed inside the narrow passageway (the carpal tunnel) at the base of your hand. Carpal tunnel nerve compression can make normal hand movements uncomfortable or downright painful, which is why you’ll want to prevent the condition or treat the problem in its infancy. In today’s blog, we share some tips for preventing and treating carpal tunnel syndrome.
Preventing Carpal Tunnel
Preventing carpal tunnel really comes down to being aware of some of the common risk factors for its onset and making a few adjustments to your daily life. While acute injury can cause carpal tunnel to develop, the most common cause is likely due to repetitive stress and repetitive movements. That’s why it tends to be more common in individuals who perform repetitive hand motions for years or even decades at their job. Those who rely on fine motor skills and individuals who work on a computer for the majority of their workday are at a heightened risk for carpal tunnel onset. However, the condition can also be the result of bodily changes and inflammatory responses to conditions like osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis or diabetes, so it’s not just an issue for office workers.
Some ways you can work to prevent carpal tunnel syndrome include:
- Limiting repetitive strain on your hands and wrists.
- Keeping your hands and wrists in a neutral position when working on a computer.
- Make sure your office chair and laptop positioning makes it easier for your hands to remain in a neutral position.
- Wear a splint at night to keep your wrists straight while you’re sleeping.
- Pursue exercises or physical therapy aimed at keeping your arms, wrists and hands strong and healthy.
Treating Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
If decades working a desk job have taken a toll on your hands and wrists, you’re not alone. Upwards of 10 million Americans deal with varying degrees of carpal tunnel syndrome, so not only are you not alone in your quest to overcome carpal tunnel, but medical specialists are pretty familiar with the best ways to treat the condition.
The most common recommended form of treatment for mild to moderate forms of carpal tunnel syndrome is physical therapy. A physical therapist can develop a specific strength training routine to help take some stress off the wrist and in turn limit inflammation that could be causing your symptoms, or they can use manual manipulation exercises to help restore flexibility and natural motion in the wrist joint.
Moreover, your physical therapist will adjust your treatment routine based on your progress or your goals, ensuring that your recovery doesn’t plateau. Coupled with other helpful strategies like activity modification, improved work ergonomics, hot/cold therapy and anti-inflammatory medications, we’re confident that you’ll see improvement or an elimination in your carpal tunnel syndrome. We will also follow a similar care path in the event that you need a minimally invasive procedure to free your irritated nerve, and we’ll be happy to design a physical therapy routine that helps you make a full recovery after your operation.
For more information about carpal tunnel syndrome and how a physical therapist can help you overcome the condition, reach out to the team at OrthoRehab Specialists today at (612) 339-2041.