Carpal tunnel syndrome is a common syndrome causing pain, numbness, and tingling in the hand and forearm. It results when the median nerve, one of the hand's major nerves, is compressed or squeezed at the wrist.
This is a condition that often gets worse over time, and leaving it untreated can cause a loss of sensation or weakness in the fingers. Because of this, early treatment is crucial for maintaining normal hand function.
Home Treatments for Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
The good news about carpal tunnel syndrome is that if you notice it early, the symptoms can often be relieved using simple at-home remedies.
Wearing a wrist splint while asleep ensures you do not bend your wrist oddly during the night, preventing compression on the median nerve and pain in the morning. However, it is best to only use your wrist splint at night, unless otherwise instructed by your doctor, as wearing it during the day may cause weakness from lack of wrist movement and use, which can cause additional problems.
Avoid Certain Activities
To help treat carpal tunnel, it is recommended to avoid certain activities that make your symptoms worse.
One example of this is avoiding repetitive hand movements, as these can continually place pressure on the median nerve. Sometimes this cannot be avoided, though, so if you do have to complete a lot of tasks with your hands, it is best to alternate between tasks to avoid placing continuous strain on your hands and wrists.
Adjust Your Office Space
Carpal tunnel syndrome is a common problem affecting those who sit in an office for their job, but adjusting your chair, desk, and keyboard so that they place your forearms at level with the work surface can help prevent this condition or relieve its symptoms.
Complete Exercises for Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
In addition to the preventive tips listed above, you can also take on a more active role in treating your carpal tunnel by completing exercises that help keep your nerve mobile.
For one exercise, bring your fingertips together, then rotate your hands until your fingers point toward the floor. Then, keep your fingertips together while moving your palms away, and then toward each other. Repeat this motion.
For a deeper stretch, extend your arm in front of you with your palm facing up. Then, use your other hand to bend your wrist back, with your hand pointing toward the floor, until you feel a stretch in your forearm. Hold this position for at least 15 seconds, then repeat 2-4 times.
Other Treatments for Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
If your carpal tunnel does not get better with the above home treatments, you may need help from a Hand Specialist and Carpal Tunnel doctor.
Steroid injections are one treatment option, which are injected into the carpal tunnel and help to reduce swelling and ease pressure placed on the median nerve.
Another treatment option is carpal tunnel release surgery, which can be used to alleviate symptoms and prevent permanent damage to the nerve. With this outpatient procedure, the surgeon cuts the carpal ligament, which widens the carpal tunnel and eases pressure on the median nerve.
Treating Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
Carpal tunnel syndrome is a common condition, but there are steps you can take to treat it and prevent it from worsening. At-home treatments such as wearing a splint, changing your office, and completing exercises offer a first line of treatment. In cases where these interventions are not enough, we can discuss steroid injections or surgery with you. Treatment is crucial for preventing permanent damage, and there are many treatment options available.