Prevent Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

31st December 2019
Carpal tunnel is a condition that causes pain and numbness in the hand. What can you do to prevent it?

Carpal tunnel syndrome is a condition that mainly affects people who bend their wrist or use vibrating machinery at work. Keep reading to see what you can to do prevent this painful and debilitating disease.

What is carpal tunnel syndrome?

Carpal tunnel syndrome is a condition that affects the tunnel-like structure in the wrist. Said structure mainly serves to protect the median nerve and muscle tendons that move the hand and fingers.

If the area suffers inflammation, the nerve pinches, which leads to the following symptoms:

  • Pain in the wrist, the palm of the hand or forearm that improves with rest and worsens with use.
  • Numbness in hand, especially in the thumb, index and middle finger. The thumb and two fingers are connected to the median nerve. The numbness usually worsens at night.
  • Affects working ability. The condition can make it difficult to grab or handle heavy objects; again, the symptoms can hinder any effort that uses the thumb, index and middle finger.

Causes

The main causes of carpal tunnel syndrome are activities that repetitively require the use of the hand in an odd position or a previous wrist injury.

carpal tunnel syndrome wrist

Genetic factors can also increase your probabilities of suffering from the condition. In addition to genetics, arthritis, diabetes, and thyroid-related diseases can also increase your chances.

Prevention

Fortunately, if you start early there are several ways to prevent carpal tunnel syndrome. The first has to do with work; if you have a job that requires repetitive wrist movements, try adopting the following measures:

  • Make the effort to keep your wrists in a natural position as you work.
  • Use supports such as a wrist brace if you work with machinery. Or use a wrist rest if you use a computer.
  • Try to keep an appropriate physical distance from your task; not too close and not too far. If you work on a computer, set up your chair so that your elbows bend at a 90-degree angle on to your desk to keep your wrists straight.
  • Take breaks or switch hands as much as you can.
  • Make sure the handles you use are comfortable to use. If you work with machinery or tools, you should be able to grip them in a normal, natural position.
  • If you have to lift something, use both hands. Trying to carry something one-handed will only put your wrist under pressure and consequently, the tendons that pass through the tunnel structure will suffer. In addition to carrying something one-handed, if you bend your wrist to do it, the harm hits twice as hard.

Our next recommendation is losing weight. Being overweight is a serious factor that you should watch out for. If you want to prevent instead of treat, a diet and exercise is a good idea.

In addition, you should also add wrist exercises to your weekly routines. Having a strong wrist will help the structures better withstand daily tasks.

carpal tunnel syndrome losing weight

Other ways to prevent carpal tunnel syndrome

Stretches and massages can also help prevent the condition. Stretching your wrists frequently can help prevent the structures from shortening and tensing up. A good massage, on the other hand, can help relax the entire area. Consult a physical therapist about the best ways to massage your wrist.

Lastly, try to keep a natural posture as you sleep. Some people close their fists when they sleep while bending their wrists to bring their hands closer to their body. Or others sleep in ways that put pressure on the area, too.

Instead, keep your fingers extended and your wrist straight to ensure proper circulation all night long. These little habits can save you a lot of pain and discomfort in the future!

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  • Araya-Quintanilla F., Polanco-Cornejo N., Cassis-Mahaluf A., Ramírez-Smith V., Gutiérrez-Espinoza H.. Efectividad de la movilización neurodinámica en el dolor y funcionalidad en sujetos con síndrome del túnel carpiano: revisión sistemática. Rev. Soc. Esp. Dolor  [Internet]. 2018  Feb [citado  2019  Nov  05] ;  25( 1 ): 26-36.
  • Alvayay C. S., Arce A.. Revisión sistemática de tratamientos fisioterapéuticos con mejor evidencia para el síndrome del túnel carpiano. Rev. Soc. Esp. Dolor  [Internet]. 2008  Oct [citado  2019  Nov  05] ;  15( 7 ): 475-480.