5 Ways To Help Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
Carpal tunnel syndrome is a medical condition that causes tingling, numbness, and weakness in the hands. The symptoms are caused by pinched nerves in the wrist. If you have carpal tunnel syndrome, there are ways you can relieve the symptoms and improve function in your hands. Here are five tips on helping carpal tunnel:
1. Use a wrist splint
Use a wrist splint whenever you're typing, writing, knitting, or using your hands. The splint keeps your wrist straight and immobilized, which prevents the nerves from pinching. The splint may be awkward to use at first, but you will quickly get used to it. Your doctor may prescribe a splint for you, or you can purchase one from the drug store.
2. Take medication
Taking certain over-the-counter NSAIDs will help relieve the pain from carpal tunnel. The medication will block the pain as well as reduce inflammation and swelling. NSAIDs include ibuprofen, aspirin, and naproxen. Your doctor may prescribe stronger doses of NSAIDs or give you corticosteroid shots if your carpal tunnel is severe.
3. Get occupational therapy
An occupational therapist can provide you with hand therapy. Before performing hand therapy, your occupational therapist will evaluate the severity of your carpal tunnel syndrome. Based on their evaluation, they will perform certain treatments and interventions via hand therapy. Here are some of the services involved in hand therapy:
- Exercise and strength training
- Measurements for custom wrist splint
- Wrist and hand retraining for living and work activities
- Electrical stimulation and ultrasound treatment
- Massage and joint manipulation
4. Modify your work station
Modifying your work area can improve your carpal tunnel syndrome and ease the symptoms. Modifying your work station can help you return to work sooner and keep you working longer. Here are some modifications you should make:
- Keyboard tray that is adjusted so that forearms are completely parallel to the floor.
- Mouse pad with padded wrist rest.
- Fingerless gloves or heating pad that wraps around hands. The heat helps relieve pain.
- Voice recognition software so you can take breaks from typing.
5. Look into alternative treatments
Alternative treatments could be an option for you if other treatments have failed and your condition isn't severe enough for surgery. Alternative treatments likely won't cure your carpal tunnel, but they will relieve the symptoms. Acupuncture may be a great supplement to your treatment plan, or as an alternative to failed treatments. In fact, a study published in the Journal of Research in Medical Sciences demonstrated that acupuncture can improve symptoms in patients with carpal tunnel.