We’ve all heard the ‘secret’ to a perfect forehand in tennis, or hitting a home run, right? “It’s all in the wrist” as the saying goes. There’s likely plenty of truth to such a statement since the wrist is such a critical part of our body in use during most of a person’s waking hours. Therefore, it is hardly surprising to hear how many people suffer from Carpal Tunnel Syndrome nowadays.
What exactly is Carpal Tunnel Syndrome and why is it so prevalent today?
Carpal tunnel syndrome is a condition causing numbness, tingling, and weakness in your hand because of pressure on the median nerve in your wrist. The median nerve and several tendons run down your forearm to your hand through a small space in the wrist called the carpal tunnel. This median nerve controls movement and feeling in your thumb and first three fingers, but not the pinky finger.
Excess pressure on the medial nerve can be due to swelling or anything else that makes the carpal tunnel smaller. No doubt, the increasing use of computers, tablets and mobile devices is playing a part in the increased cases of this condition. Some other common causes are:
- Pregnancy (yes, that tiny little baby growing in your belly can cause problems in your wrists!)
- Repetitive movements of the hand or wrist
- Medical conditions such as diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, or hypothyroidism
If you have been diagnosed with Carpal Tunnel Syndrome, the key to relief is to see your doctor right away and find out what is recommended in your specific case to treat the problem quickly.
While surgery is an option, it is generally not the first course of treatment. Surgery is generally not recommended unless your pain causes the inability to work, sleep or perform daily tasks that were previously done with ease. The sooner you begin a treatment plan, the better your chances of alleviating the symptoms and preventing long-term damage to the nerve.
Generally, your doctor or physical therapist will advise that mild to moderate symptoms from Carpal Tunnel Syndrome can be treated with home care.
You will probably be told to:
1) Wear a wrist brace or support at night to take the pressure off the nerve and surrounding area.
2) Minimize or avoid activities that cause numbness and pain.
3) Rest your wrist and hands often between different routine activities such as computer or tablet use, sewing or crafting.
4) Use ice or cold packs on the wrists to reduce swelling.
5) Take over the counter, anti-inflammatory pain relievers such as ibuprofen or naproxen to reduce pain and swelling.
Ames Walker offers a variety of wrist splints, braces and supports that are helpful in treating symptoms from Carpal Tunnel Syndrome. Your doctor or therapist can recommend which type of support will be most useful to you and our team of certified experts are always available to assist you in making your selection.