13 Methods for Preventing Carpal Tunnel – Dr. Levi

13 Methods for Preventing Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

What is Carpal Tunnel?

Carpal tunnel syndrome (or CTS) is a condition affecting the hand and wrist. It occurs when the carpal tunnel, a narrow passage made of bones and ligaments in the wrist, becomes compressed and puts pressure on the median nerve, which runs from the forearm to the hand. If carpal tunnel syndrome is left untreated, it can lead to increasing pain over time, impairment of hand function and chronic nerve damage.

Symptoms of Carpal Tunnel

When the median nerve is squeezed or compressed within the carpal tunnel, it can lead to a range of symptoms.

1. Numbness or tingling

A numbing or tingling sensation may be felt in the thumb, index finger, middle finger and part of the ring finger. The feeling may radiate up the arm or cause wrist discomfort as well.

2. Weakness

Weakness in the hand may develop with carpal tunnel syndrome. This can result in difficulty gripping objects or trouble with fine motor skills like writing or buttoning a shirt.

3. Pain

Carpal tunnel syndrome can produce pain or a dull ache in the hand, wrist or both. The pain may even extend into the forearm or upper arm.

How to Prevent Carpal Tunnel

To reduce the risk of developing carpal tunnel syndrome or alleviate symptoms if you already have it, there are a variety of preventive measures you can try.

1. Maintain good posture

Sit and stand with proper posture to keep your wrists in a neutral position. Avoid excessive bending or flexing of the wrists for extended periods.

2. Take regular breaks

If your work involves repetitive hand movements or prolonged computer use, take frequent breaks to rest your hands and wrists.

3. Use ergonomic equipment

Make sure your workstation is set up ergonomically. Use an ergonomic keyboard and mouse and position your chair at a height that allows your wrists to remain straight.

4. Practice proper grip and typing techniques

Maintain a relaxed grip and avoid excessive force when using tools or objects. When typing, use a light touch on the keyboard and avoid pounding the keys.

5. Use wrist supports

Consider using wrist supports or splints while performing tasks that involve repetitive hand movements to reduce strain on the median nerve. If you need to use vibrating tools or equipment, use padding or vibration-absorbing gloves.

6. Perform warm-up exercises

Before engaging in activities that involve repetitive hand movements or prolonged computer use, warm-up with gentle exercises for your hands, wrist and fingers. This helps increase blood flow and flexibility.

7. Stay physically active

Regular exercise, especially activities that strengthen your wrists, hands and forearms, can help improve flexibility and range of motion thereby reducing the risk of carpal tunnel syndrome.

8. Don’t smoke

Smoking reduces blood flow to the median nerve as well as causes inflammation and overall tissue damage.

9. Maintain a healthy weight

Excess body weight can put additional strain on your wrists and contribute to the development of carpal tunnel syndrome.

10. Adjust your sleeping position

Avoid sleeping with your wrists flexed or bent. Consider using a wrist brace or a rolled-up towel to keep your wrists in a neutral position while sleeping.

11. Manage underlying health conditions

If you have conditions such as diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis or thyroid disorders they may increase the risk of carpal tunnel syndrome. Work with your healthcare provider to manage and control these conditions effectively.

12. Stay hydrated

Proper hydration is important for maintaining healthy tissues, including the tendons and ligaments in your wrists. Drink an adequate amount of water throughout the day to keep your body well hydrated.

13. Keep your stress level in check

Managing stress can reduce muscle tension which has been known to negatively affect the alignment and function of the upper body including the wrist and hands.

How Can a Chiropractor Help Alleviate Carpal Tunnel Pain?

If you do develop carpal tunnel syndrome, there are a variety of treatment options available to you depending on the severity of your case. Chiropractors can provide therapies to help manage and alleviate carpal tunnel symptoms. They may provide advice on the above as well as utilize:

1. Joint mobilization and manipulation

A chiropractor can work on the joints of the wrist, hand, elbow, shoulder and even the neck to help improve joint function, reduce inflammation and relieve nerve compression that may be contributing to carpal tunnel pain.

2. Soft tissue therapy

Soft tissue techniques such as myofascial release, trigger point therapy or Graston technique can address muscle tension, improve circulation and alleviate pressure on the median nerve.

3. Wrist and hand exercises

Your chiropractor may prescribe specific exercises and stretches to help improve the range of motion, flexibility and strength of the wrist and hand.

Carpal Tunnel Treatment in Maryland

Dr. Levi has been helping patients with carpal tunnel for over 25 years. His methodical, gentle approach can help alleviate pain and restore flexibility and mobility to your wrists and hands. Set up an appointment at Levi Chiropractic to see if treatment is right for you.