4 Simple Steps to Reduce Carpal Tunnel Symptoms

4 Simple Steps to Reduce Carpal Tunnel Symptoms

You have uncomfortable symptoms in your hand. Perhaps part of it is numb. On the other hand, you may feel pain and a tingling sensation in your thumb and some of your fingers. Your hand may be so weak that you feel like you might drop your cup of coffee. You likely have carpal tunnel syndrome. 

If you have carpal tunnel syndrome, you have an irritated nerve that has inflamed soft tissue around it as it runs through your wrist into your hand, producing your symptoms. Our board-certified physicians and physical therapists with Delta Orthopaedics & Sports Medicine treat many patients with carpal tunnel syndrome. It’s a fairly common disorder. 

Carpal tunnel syndrome, like most physical disorders, is more easily treated in its early stages. It worsens without treatment and changes in lifestyle and habits. You could sustain permanent nerve damage in your hand if your carpal tunnel is left untreated. 

Treatments for carpal tunnel syndrome 

We treat your carpal tunnel through a variety of approaches that can include splinting, resting the wrist, modifying habits that involve repetitive motion of the wrist and hand, taking medication, having physical therapy, and having steroid injections. 

If these conservative treatments don’t work, we can perform minor surgery to ease pressure on your median nerve.

Following are four effective ways you can reduce your carpal tunnel symptoms. 

Use ergonomics/accommodations to your advantage 

If you’re using repetitive motions of your hand, fingers, and/or wrist while you work, and these movements are producing the inflammation in your wrist, it’s time to examine your work setting and environment. 

If you work at a desk using the computer, examine your sitting position. You should be sitting straight up or slightly tilted toward the back of the chair, with your lower back supported. Your arms should be at a 90-degree angle as your fingers touch the keyboard. Keep your feet flat on the floor. 

Your wrists should be in a straight line from your arms as they reach the keyboard. They shouldn’t be flexed or stretched abnormally. If your wrists are turned in as you’re working on the keyboard, you’re straining them and putting excess pressure on your median nerve. It then can become irritated, inflaming your tendons.

Invest in a curved or split keyboard. The keyboard should have a wrist rest at the bottom, and your wrists should rest on this platform. The curved or split keyboard provides the correct ergonomic position for your wrists when typing. It removes the excess pressure on your wrists. 

If you work at a job that involves repetitive motions of the wrist such as using a drill, jackhammer, hammer, or similar tool, you need to take a rest to calm the inflammation. Can you ease up on your grip on the tool? Perhaps thick gloves can reduce the pressure on your hands. 

Rest the wrist 

Are your activities contributing to your carpal tunnel syndrome? If your condition may have been the result of gaming, knitting, a sport you play, or another hobby that involves use of your hand and wrist, you need to take a break from your hobby to give your median nerve and surrounding tendons a break. 

It’s harder to rest the wrist if your job involves constant wrist action. If you can take breaks during the day, rest your hand and wrist. Don’t spend your free time making repetitive motions with the wrist. 

We can provide a letter from your doctor that explains your condition and the rest and/or accommodations you need, at least temporarily.

Wear a splint/wrist orthotic 

We may provide you with a wrist orthotic to help calm your carpal tunnel symptoms. You can also find these splints online. 

We may advise you to wear the protective splint 24 hours a day at first or only at night. It prevents your hand from bending when you’re asleep. When you wear the splint, your hand remains in a neutral position that relieves pressure on the median nerve. 

Ice your hand and fingers 

Is your wrist painful and swollen? Wrap your hand and wrist in a light towel and put it into an ice bath for 10-15 minutes several times during the day. The cold therapy helps ease your inflammation and pain. 

Call Delta Orthopaedics & Sports Medicine in West Memphis, Arkansas, or Collierville, Tennessee, or book an appointment through our online portal today if you have unexplained hand, finger, or wrist pain and for all of your musculoskeletal concerns. You can also send a message to the team here on our website.

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