How to Prevent Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
Carpal tunnel syndrome is one of the most common hand and wrist conditions. There are several potential ways to prevent or treat the condition. However, home remedies and exercises only temporarily mask the pain and numbness caused by carpal tunnel syndrome. Conversely, chiropractic care aims to identify the root cause of your discomfort and treat it accordingly through personalized methods.
What Is Carpal Tunnel Syndrome?
Carpal tunnel syndrome occurs when the wrist’s median nerve experiences increased pressure. This nerve provides sensation (feeling) to your thumb, index finger, and middle fingers. Your pinky finger typically isn’t affected.
The carpal tunnel is a narrow canal in your wrist connecting the median nerve and its tendons to your forearm. The following are crucial components of the carpal tunnel:
- Eight carpal bones: These eight bones comprise the bottom and sides of the tunnel, forming a semi-circle. When one or more of these bones move out of place, you experience wrist pain.
- Ligament: The ligament is a strong tissue that forms the top of the tunnel and holds it together.
The median nerve and tendons reside within the carpal tunnel.
- Median nerve: The median nerve provides sensation to most fingers in your hand. Further, it strengthens the base of your thumb and index finger.
- Tendons: Tendons resemble ropes and connect the muscles in your forearm to the bones in your hand. They also allow your fingers and thumb to bend.
However, when the carpal tunnel narrows because one or more of the eight bones move out of place, they cause a continuous pressure and compress the median nerve and tendons. When this occurs, the structures swell and cut off sensations in your fingers and hand. Various symptoms arise as a result.
The symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome usually begin slowly. Often, early signs can arise sporadically and include the following:
- Numbness at night due to sleeping with your wrists curled
- Tingling and/or pain in your fingers
In the early stages, many people can shake their wrists when they wake up each morning to provide relief. During the day, common symptoms may include:
- Decreased feeling in your fingertips
- A tingling sensation in your fingers
- Difficulty using the hand for tasks like handling small objects, writing, using a keyboard, etc.
As carpal tunnel syndrome progresses over time, symptoms become more constant and are most often observed in the following ways:
- Dropping objects
- Weakness in your hand
- Inability to perform tasks requiring delicate hand motions, such as buttoning a shirt
Who Is at Risk?
It’s important to note that anyone can develop carpal tunnel syndrome – it’s not limited to individuals working an office job or on an assembly line. Those most at risk for carpal tunnel syndrome include people who perform activities or jobs involving repetitive finger movements.
The risk of carpal tunnel syndrome increases as you age and is more common in women than men. Although it’s unusual to develop before age 20, anyone repetitively performing the following movements is at greater risk:
- High-force hammering
- Using vibrating power tools
- Long-term use
- Extreme wrist motions
Ways to Prevent Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
The best way to prevent carpal tunnel syndrome is to have the eight bones in the wrist adjusted back to their healthy position, therefore restoring the healthy tunnel for the median nerve to pass through. However, you can do a few things to relieve your symptoms temporarily.
- Take frequent breaks. Step away from your work or activity for 10-15 minutes each hour to bend and stretch your hands. Doing so is especially helpful if you use tools that vibrate or make you exert significant pressure.
- Decrease pressure. When we perform specific tasks repeatedly, we often don’t think twice about them. However, we often exert more force than needed to complete them. Pay attention to how you type on a keyboard or grip tools – if required, try using a softer touch.
- Practice good posture. Although it’s common to think posture is only related to your spine, your extremities play a role, too. Poor posture can cause your shoulders to roll forward. As a result, the muscles in your shoulders and neck tighten, and your nerves pinch, making your wrist issues worse.
- Keep your wrists in a straight position. Avoid bending your wrists entirely one way or the other. Keeping your wrists in a straight, neutral position as much as possible takes the pressure off your median nerve. Wearing a splint as you sleep can also help.
- Make adjustments at work. Whether you change your workstation setup, alter how you complete tasks or adjust your grip on tools, simple tweaks can alleviate pain. If you work at a computer, adjust the keyboard so your wrists don’t bend, and keep your elbows close to your sides while you type.
Chiropractic Care for Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
Although lifestyle changes and stretching exercises can alleviate pain, they don’t bring lasting benefits. If you experience carpal tunnel syndrome symptoms, it’s essential to discover its cause rather than mask the pain temporarily.
Chiropractic Adjustments & Therapies to Prevent Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
Chiropractic care can prevent carpal tunnel syndrome from worsening and provide lasting relief. Chiropractors view the body as interconnected, meaning that misalignment in one area can cause pain in another. Therefore, gentle, targeted adjustments to your wrists and hands can improve your symptoms and help your body function properly once again.
Dr. Susan Myshka of Myshka Chiropractic in Jonesboro, AR, provides hand and wrist adjustments that offer relief, restore function, and address your issue’s cause – not just symptoms. When she adjusts the bones in your hands and wrists, your joints can move in their full range of motion.
Additionally, the adjustment alleviates pain and reduces inflammation in your median nerve and surrounding tissues. Dr. Myshka can also implement cold laser therapy to accelerate your body’s healing process and relieve pain or discomfort.
Schedule an Appointment to Prevent Carpal Tunnel Syndrome from Worsening
Home remedies, lifestyle changes, and stretching can only mask the pain, but chiropractic care addresses the root of your issue. You’ll receive individualized care when you schedule an appointment at Myshka Chiropractic to prevent your carpal tunnel syndrome from worsening. Dr. Myshka has the experience and knowledge needed to provide the highest quality chiropractic treatment tailored to you.
She starts every treatment plan with a comprehensive chiropractic exam to determine what’s causing your pain. From there, she implements proven methods to alleviate the pain and eliminate it for lasting relief.
Schedule your appointment today to prevent carpal tunnel syndrome from worsening. We look forward to assisting you!