Carpal Tunnel Syndrome: Prevention and Treatment
In this age of endless keyboards, buttons and touchpads, the pain and inconvenience of carpal tunnel syndrome has become an increasingly widespread problem. Recognizing it for what it is and making the effort to address the problem is more than most people do, which keeps them in pain longer, and once the pain finally goes away most people don’t bother figuring out how to keep it from coming back.
It’s important to determine whether you have carpal tunnel syndrome or some other injury, so that you don’t try to cure the pain with carpal tunnel exercises that can hurt you wrist rather than helping them if carpal tunnel isn’t the real problem. Other potential problems your wrist pain could be include:
· Muscle, Ligament or Tendon Injuries: injuries to the soft tissues, such as strains, sprains, contusions and tendonitis, can happen for a variety of reasons. Falling and catching yourself awkwardly, twisting your arm muscles at an odd angel, or receiving a blow during sports or other activities can result in pain very similar to that of carpal tunnel.
· Pinched Nerves: a pinched nerve occurs when a nerve is compressed by surrounding tissue, causing the nerve to become inflamed and disrupting its functionality. Pinched nerves can have a variety of causes including poor posture, arthritis, obesity and carpal tunnel syndrome.
· Arthritis: joint strain, auto-immune disease and genetics are all potential factors in determining whether you will get arthritis. There are over 100 types of arthritis, but a common symptom is a painful stiffness and swollenness of the joints that can feel similar to carpal tunnel syndrome.
· Bone Dislocation/ Fracture: bone dislocations or fractures should be treated as emergency injuries. It is possible not to realize a bone is broken or dislocated at the time or breaking or dislocation due to distractions, extreme temperatures and even to shock.
Carpal tunnel syndrome results when the median nerve within your carpal tunnel, which is a tunnel about the width of your thumb that runs up along the palm side of your upper arm, becomes pinched. The median nerve controls your hand and the 9 tendons that give you the ability to bend your fingers. Once a nerve is pinched, it becomes inflamed and painful.
Chronic pain and permanent nerve damage can occur when carpal tunnel syndrome is left untreated. To alleviate the uncomfortable symptoms associated with carpal tunnel, try the exercises:
The symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome can sometimes be alleviated in mild to moderate cases through a series of simple “nerve-gliding” and “tendon-gliding hand exercises that you can learn to do yourself.
· Nerve Gliding - this type of exercise can potentially worsen your hand’s condition if the nerve is already pinched, so be sure to consult with your doctor before trying it and use it only sparingly.
· Tendon Gliding – to try tendon gliding, first hold your hand vertically with fingers extended. Bend your fingers at the second knuckle with your thumb still extended and then bend your fingers at the first knuckle with your thumb still extended to form a fist.
· Compensate for Repetitive Motions – Compensate for repetitive motions with hand motions that move your muscles in different ways.
Though surgery is sometimes a necessity in dealing with a pinched carpal tunnel nerve, exercises can potentially be of help, particularly in combination with other measures such as splinting the affected arm and apply corticosteroids.