5 Tips to Prevent Carpal Tunnel

5 Tips to Prevent Carpal Tunnel

Your carpal tunnel really is like a tunnel. It’s an opening in your wrist, where your wrist and hand meet, made up of carpal bones.

When you have carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS), it means that the median nerve, which passes down your arm and into your wrist, is compressed. This happens when the carpal tunnel thickens. While no one knows the exact cause, a range of factors can contribute to that thickening and to related pain, tingling, and numbness in the affected arm. 

Our expert team at Northland Orthopedics & Sports Medicine in Kansas City, Missouri, are highly skilled at diagnosing and treating carpal tunnel syndrome.

Here, we explore more about this condition, and share ways to prevent a flare up.

1. Take wrist breaks

Any time you put strain on your wrists, you run the risk of potential carpal tunnel issues. That’s one reason repetitive motions, like typing on your computer, can really fuel CTS pain.

If you work at a computer for hours on end, take breaks to stretch and move your hands and wrists. If you use tools, such as power drills, that require a good amount of force, breaks are especially important. Aim for a 10-15 minute break every hour, if possible.

2. Improve your posture

When you’re concerned about carpal tunnel pain, it can be easy to focus solely on your wrists and hands. Your whole body’s posture, however, can make a difference. 

A slumped posture may cause your shoulders to roll forward, setting off a chain reaction that shortens the muscles in your shoulder and neck and presses on nerves that can worsen wrist strain.

Aim to keep your back straight and your shoulders back. Placing your laptop or other devices at eye level can help you stay there.

3. Wear a wrist brace at night

For many people, carpal tunnel syndrome improves greatly after wearing a sleep brace at night. Particularly if you sleep on your side, in a “fetal position,” you may find such a brace helpful – because that position may compress your median nerve.

A carpal tunnel brace keeps your wrist bones and ligament in normal alignment, preventing or reversing CTS symptoms. Alternatively, you could try switching up your sleep position. 

4. Keep your body warm

Carpal tunnel symptoms are also more likely when your body is cold. Cold temperatures cause your blood vessels to narrow, making your heart work harder and raising your blood pressure. Meanwhile, less blood flows to your hands and wrists, which may trigger a CTS flare up.

Especially during winter months and in cold settings, wear appropriately warm clothing. If you may be in a chilled indoor environment, prepare by bringing layers or sipping a hot beverage.

5. See a specialist when you notice symptoms

Carpal tunnel syndrome can grow progressively worse if you attempt to ignore it. By coming into our office early on, you can get any needed treatment before more severe symptoms set in. Doing so may even help you avoid surgery, which is reserved for the most severe CTS cases. 

We can also help determine whether your wrist pain or tingling is due to carpal tunnel issues or another condition, like arthritis or a fracture.

To learn more about carpal tunnel syndrome or to get the care you need, call Northland Orthopedic & Sports Medicine or request a virtual appointment through our website today. 

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