How to Prevent Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
Prevention is the most important alternative to pain management. Learning how to prevent common injuries, and taking the time to stretch appropriately can save you from years of dealing with pain. That’s why we’re happy to present this information – in hopes that it will help you live pain free.
Carpal Tunnel Syndrome is a condition of the wrist causing pain and discomfort, as a result of compression of the wrist nerve. The main symptom of Carpal Tunnel includes numbness – usually in the ring finger, index finger or the thumb, although this numbness can sometimes extend to other parts of the hand or even to the forearm. Numbness most often occurs at night, and may be accompanied by pain and inflammation.
There are many predisposing factors that may increase your risk of developing Carpal Tunnel Syndrome, including diabetes, obesity, pregnancy, and hypothyroidism. Several occupational causes exist, including jobs that involve heavy use of the hands and arms like heavy manual work, work with vibrating tools, and highly repetitive tasks – especially when performed in cold weather.
Fortunately, Carpal Tunnel Syndrome can be prevented fairly easily and effectively. Taking regular breaks while working at a computer or workstation is the most important preventative measure. We often recommend that our patients schedule recurring alerts and reminders in their smartphones to keep them on a schedule of taking breaks to stretch and move around. Alternatively, many smartphone apps are designed for this purpose and even include stretching videos and tutorials.
Another preventative measure we recommend to our patients involves assessing your workstation and making changes or modifications where necessary. For example, a wrist rest for your keyboard or mouse, or an angled platform for your laptop can help position your wrist correctly to avoid uncomfortable cramping and long term damage.
If you feel you are at risk of developing Carpal Tunnel Syndrome, or if you are exhibiting any of the symptoms, we recommend you contact us or call (201) 962-9199 to book an appointment at our medical facility in Ramsey, NJ where we’ll be able to diagnose your condition and create a customized pain management solution including physical therapy, and other nonsurgical treatments – all performed on site.
Below we have outlined some basic stretching and isometric exercise techniques that may help to both prevent and ease the symptoms and flare ups from Carpal Tunnel Syndrome. As with all exercises and stretching, be sure to introduce these techniques slowly and carefully.
Basic Finger Stretch
Place your hand firmly on a flat surface and gently press for a few seconds in order to stretch your fingers.
Isometric Hand Exercise
One example of an isometric exercise for reducing and preventing symptoms of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome is to clench your fist tightly for a few seconds, then release your fingers and fan them out.
Start with your palms facing each other, pressed together in front of your chest, and slowly lower your hands down towards your waist. With this stretch you should feel a slight pull under your forearms. Take care not to overextend your wrists.
Wrist Stretcher Flex
The wrist stretcher flex is performed by extending one arm in front of you with your palm up, and then carefully bending your wrist down, so your fingers point towards the floor. Use your other hand to gently push on your hand, bending your wrist until you begin to feel a stretch in your forearm. Repeat with your other arm.
Wrist Extensor Stretch
For this stretch, begin with one arm extended out in front of you with your palm down, and carefully bend your wrist upward, so your fingers point towards the ceiling. Use your other hand to gently pull on your hand, so that you begin to feel a stretch in your forearm. Repeat with your other arm.
This is just a sample of the preventative stretches, and there are many other exercises, stretches and treatments we recommend for our patients who either have or are at risk of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome. To learn more about how to prevent Carpal Tunnel Syndrome, talk to one of our doctors or physical therapists at Progressive Spine & Sports Medicine today by calling (201) 962-9199.
At Progressive Spine and Sports Medicine, we specialize in nonsurgical pain management, and Carpal Tunnel Syndrome is just one of the many conditions we diagnose and treat in our Ramsey, NJ medical center. For more information, please see our full list of our nonsurgical services, or to schedule a consultation, contact us today.
We look forward to being your #1 solution for nonsurgical pain treatment.