Carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS) usually manifests itself as tingling, numbness, or pain in parts of the hand. Sometimes you’re unable to move your thumb, index, and middle fingers properly. Sometimes the symptoms go away without treatment. However, the best way to avoid carpal tunnel is by taking precautions to prevent it in the first place. This is especially important if you work in an office, or any job that involves repetitive use of your wrists.
However, if you are worried about pain you’re currently experiencing, the carpal tunnel specialists at the Orthopaedic Institute of Henderson can diagnose and treat CTS. Located in Henderson, Nevada, our skilled practitioners can relieve you of pain and show you ways to prevent carpal tunnel from progressing.
What is carpal tunnel syndrome?
Carpal tunnel syndrome is a condition that develops in your hand when tissues that surround tendons in the wrist place pressure on the median nerve. Those tissues, called synovium tissues, are responsible for keeping tendons lubricated to make hand and wrist movement possible.
When the synovium tissues swell, they eventually crowd the median nerve. If your median nerve becomes compressed, you can experience tingling, numbness, and weakness in the hand and arm.
Carpal tunnel risk factors
Activities or jobs requiring repetitive finger movement put people at risk for carpal tunnel syndrome. This often includes people working office jobs, which require a lot of typing.
Though it’s most commonly associated with office work, many different activities can lead to carpal tunnel syndrome. You may be at risk if your job tasks include repetitive vibrations and extreme wrist motions (like using a jackhammer). In addition to long term use of hands and fingers, these factors can also lead to the development of CTS:
- Older age
- Wrist fracture
- Arthritis (such as rheumatoid arthritis and gout)
Further, CTS is more common in women than in men.
3 exercises to prevent carpal tunnel syndrome
If you’re worried about getting CTS or experiencing pain or numbness, these simple exercises can help. These movements may relieve or prevent pain, plus you can practice them without leaving your desk or office.
- Use a stress ball. Take the small, soft ball in your hand and squeeze it firmly for about three seconds, and then repeat several times. Do this throughout the day to stretch and lengthen your wrist, keeping it flexible.
- Stretch your flexor muscles. Extend the affected arm forward, with your fingertips pointing to the floor and the palm facing up. Push your fingers towards the floor with the other hand and hold the stretch for a few seconds. The exercise stretches the flexor muscle of the wrist. Do the same exercise with the back of your hand facing up towards the sky to stretch your wrist extensor muscle.
- Practice the prayer pose. Bring your palms together in front of your chest as if in a prayer position. Then spread your fingers apart and hold the stretch for about a minute.
Overstressing and improper strain on the wrists can contribute to worsening symptoms. It’s impossible to stop doing your job and other activities, so it’s essential to avoid excessive strain on the hand and wrist.
In addition to these exercises, you can wear a splint at night. You can also use ergonomic keyboards with a raised and curved keyboard to prevent discomfort.
Diagnosing and treating CTS
First, a specialist reviews your medical history and examines your hand and wrist, checking for tingling, numbness, or pain in your fingers. The doctor might also check for weakness in the muscles around your thumb.
Our experts may use electrophysiological tests to check on your median nerve. Some treatments for CTS include:
- Nerve gliding exercises
- Bracing or splinting your wrist
- Physical therapy
- Therapeutic injections
The doctor may recommend carpal tunnel release surgery if your carpal tunnel syndrome is severe or does not improve with treatment. Treating CTS is far easier when we catch it early. Call the Orthopaedic Institute of Henderson today or request an appointment online.