Prevent Carpal tunnel syndrome

Ways to Prevent Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

Expert's View Healthcare

With the increase in computer-based sedentary work, individuals often experience discomfort and sharp pain in their hands and wrists. It is a matter of concern if such pains are constant, as it could be Carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS).

Carpal tunnel syndrome is a condition that affects about 6% of the adult population. CTS occurs only in adults and is more common in women than men. CTS is not life-threatening, but it can be severe if left untreated. Fortunately, seeking treatment for this condition is possible before it leads to permanent damage.

What Is Carpal Tunnel Syndrome (CTS)?

Carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS) develops when the median nerve in our wrist becomes pinched or compressed. The median nerve is responsible to provide sensory and motor functions, allowing parts of our hand to feel and move. 

It stretches from our arm to our hand. The nerve enters our hand through a narrow channel in our wrist called the carpal tunnel. When the tunnel swells, it can pinch the median nerve. The pinched nerve leads to numbness, pain, or weakness in the wrist and hand.

Symptoms of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

People with CTS might experience numbness or tingling in their thumb or fingers. Some individuals may find it challenging to use their fingers to grasp something. Symptoms usually appear at night and may be felt in both hands. 

If symptoms worsen over time, one might notice tingling in fingers while doing simple activities like driving or reading. Many people complain of having difficulty carrying bags. With severe CTS, one may lose sensation in their fingertips or the ability to move their thumbs and fingers. Individuals with CTS may experience the following symptoms:

  • Weakness in hands

  • Numbness, tingling, or pain in the fingers, except for the little finger

  • Pain in the wrist and hand that extends to the elbow

  • Hand coordination issues

  • Symptoms that worsen while bending the wrist forward

Five Ways to Avoid Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

There are several ways to reduce our risk of developing CTS or more severe symptoms. Here are some simple and practical tips to follow whether we work from home or in the office.

  1. Take breaks: It is essential to take breaks during our work. Especially in repetitive activities, one must take short breaks as often as possible, or at least once an hour. One must set an alarm to remember to take a break.

  1. Stretch throughout the day: Ideally, one must take a break every 20 minutes and do a stretching exercise. A simple stretch that one can try is making a fist, then releasing the fingers and stretching them out as far as possible. Repeat this stretch five to 10 times.

  1. Wear a wrist brace: A wrist brace can help individuals keep their wrists straight as they sleep or perform repetitive tasks. Many people bend their wrists while they sleep, which squeezes the median nerve. However, when the brace is removed, one must ensure that the wrist is moved naturally. This helps to maintain strength and flexibility but avoid putting too much stress on it. Wearing a wrist brace, also known as a splint, can help relieve CTS-related symptoms.

  1. Avoid repetition: If possible, one must not make repetitive motions and mix up tasks. This tip is especially relevant to movements that involve flexing wrists—switching hands can help with a break to the hand, which has been in use constantly.

  1. Visit doctor: It is best not to wait to treat carpal tunnel syndrome and allow the condition to worsen. If one is experiencing pain or numbness in the hand, consulting a specialist may help treat it better.

Carpal tunnel syndrome, if not treated can worsen impacting one’s capacity to type or lift things. Therefore, it is advised to be aware of the symptoms and continue practising above five things for reducing the risk of developing this syndrome.