Tingling in the fingers. Weakness in the hands. Loss of hand function. These may all be symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome. Carpal tunnel syndrome is one of the most common nerve disorders affecting between four and 10 million Americans, according to the American College of Rheumatology.

Good news is, carpal tunnel syndrome is treatable, often times with minimally invasive techniques. Older individuals are more likely to develop this than young people, and females get it 3x more frequently than their male counterparts.

Symptoms can include occasional, mild numbness in the fingers, hand weakness, loss of feeling in the hands and fingers, tingling in the wrists, and loss of hand function. Carpal tunnel syndrome arises from pressure that is put on your median nerve, translating to a numb or tingling feeling in your thumb and all fingers except the pinky.

The median nerve passes through your wrist via a narrow pathway called the carpal tunnel, comprised of bone and ligament. If any swelling occurs in the wrist, this tunnel becomes squeezed and will pinch the median nerve.

Carpal Tunnel Prevention Tips

It’s important to get a diagnosis from a doctor, as carpal tunnel syndrome can mimic other conditions. Seeking treatment sooner rather than later will ensure your symptoms don’t worsen.

But the best thing to do is to prevent carpal tunnel from happening in the first place.

1.      Don’t Use as Much Force in Daily Tasks

Sometimes we get stuck in our ways when conducting daily routines. You may not even realize how hard you’re typing on the keyboard, or holding a tool too tightly. Instead, use a firm hold on tools but not too much force, and instead of pounding on the keyboard, concentrate on using gentle strokes.

2.      Take a Break

Take some time to step away from your desk or workbench once an hour for about 10 minutes to stretch and have a breather. Set your phone alarm if you have to so you can ensure consistency.

During those breaks, here’s a simple stretch to try:

  • Make a fist with your hands.
  • Point your fingers straight out slowly.
  • Repeat this motion five to 10 times.

Here’s another one to try:

  • Make a fist with your hands.
  • Release your fingers, slowly fanning them out.
  • Stretch them as far as they will go.
  • Repeat this motion five to 10 times.

3.      Remain Neutral

Don’t bend your wrist completely all the way down or up. Instead, keep it in a straight, neutral position so the pressure is taken off your median nerve. You may also want to wear a wrist brace at night and during the day when performing activities that exacerbate your symptoms.

4.      Switch Things Up

Don’t always do the same hand and wrist motions repeatedly. Let’s say there’s a task you always perform with your right hand. Why not trying doing it with your left hand every once in a while instead?

5.      Maintain Good Posture

You may be hyper-focused on what your wrist and hands are doing, but it’s important to maintain a proper posture throughout the rest of your body too. Poor posture results in slumping or rolling your shoulders forward, which can then shorten your shoulder and neck muscles, pinch the nerves in your neck, and worsen wrist problems.

6.      Keep Warm

Did you know that your symptoms, discomfort and stiffness can get worse when you’re cold? Stay warm to lessen pain, especially if you work outside.

Contact Summit Spine and Joint Centers

To learn how our pain management clinic can help relieve a stress fracture or any other acute or chronic pain, call us today at 770-962-3642 and make an appointment to visit one our 23 pain centers including our featured new location in September for Pain Management in Athens, GA.  We utilize state-of-the-art, minimally-invasive techniques to restore function and improve your overall quality of life.