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Tips on How to Deal with Carpal Tunnel: Managing Symptoms & Discomfort

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02 Apr 2024

If you’re exploring tips on how to deal with carpal tunnel syndrome, you’re in the right place. 

We’re going to look at what causes flare-ups, identify some top tips for day-to-day management and even look at some adaptive tools designed to make everyday tasks more comfortable.

Understanding Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

Carpal tunnel syndrome can significantly impact daily life. It causes pain, numbness, and weakness in the hands and wrists.

It’s a fairly common condition caused by the median nerve, which runs from the forearm into the palm of the hand, becoming compressed or squeezed at the wrist. 

Although there are surgical options for those with extreme carpal tunnel pain, many can manage discomfort without needing surgery. What’s good for carpal tunnel in your hand will often depend on the root causes of the discomfort, which are important to identify.

What Triggers Carpal Tunnel Flare-Ups?

Carpal tunnel syndrome flare-ups can be triggered by a number of activities that increase pressure on the median nerve within the wrist's carpal tunnel. 

Some of the most common causes are repetitive hand movements, awkward hand positions, and forceful gripping for prolonged periods of time.

To manage carpal tunnel syndrome effectively, it's essential to identify and address any triggers to reduce pressure. 

Here are some common causes that can heighten symptoms and cause limited mobility:

  • Repetitive hand and wrist movements
  • Awkward hand positions for long periods of time
  • Forceful gripping or grasping
  • Use of vibrating power tools or equipment
  • Prolonged pressure on the wrist
  • Fluid retention
  • Hormonal changes
  • Underlying health conditions
  • Trauma or injury to the wrist
  • Genetics

By minimizing exposure to these triggers where possible and adapting so that these actions are supported by ergonomic tools, those with carpal tunnel syndrome can reduce the frequency and severity of flare-ups and better manage the condition.

Activities To Avoid With Carpal Tunnel

  • Typing or using a computer mouse for long periods without necessary breaks.
  • Playing musical instruments that require repetitive hand and wrist movements, such as piano or guitar.
  • Knitting or crocheting for extended periods.
  • Using handheld tools like sanders or jackhammers.
  • Engaging in activities that involve repetitive gripping or twisting motions, such as opening jars or using screwdrivers.
  • Performing activities that involve bending the wrist downwards or upwards for prolonged periods, such as painting or playing video games.
  • Holding a phone or tablet with extended wrist flexion for long periods.
  • Carrying heavy bags or objects that strain the wrist and hand muscles.
  • Participating in sports or exercises that put excessive pressure on the wrist, such as weightlifting or boxing.
  • Performing tasks that involve awkward wrist positions, such as using scissors or gardening tools incorrectly.

Tips on How to Deal with Carpal Tunnel

What helps carpal tunnel in the wrist? There are a number of ways to reduce strain and avoid pain-triggering movements. Here are some of our top carpal tunnel tips.

Ergonomic Workspace Setup

There are occasions where prolonged typing or the use of a mouse might be required. Workplaces that use computers, for example, often require repetitive movements that can cause flare-ups of wrist pain.

You can create an ergonomic workspace by ensuring that your desk, chair, and computer setup promote proper posture and wrist alignment. Ergonomic keyboards, mouse pads with wrist support, and adjustable chairs can reduce strain on the wrists and hands during working hours.

Take Regular Breaks 

Carpal tunnel pain is often caused by prolonged use of the wrists. To avoid overuse and strain, take frequent breaks from repetitive tasks. Try to incorporate short stretching exercises and gentle wrist movements into your breaks to promote circulation and flexibility.

Use Splints or Braces 

When carpal tunnel is particularly uncomfortable, consider wearing wrist splints or braces for additional support. These devices can help to keep the wrist in a neutral position, reducing pressure on the nerve and providing relief from pain and discomfort.

Apply Cold Therapy

Heat and cold therapy can be a good option for pain management. Apply cold packs or ice packs to the affected wrist to reduce inflammation and alleviate pain. 

Cold therapy can help to numb the area and provide temporary relief when symptoms are aggravated.

Modify Or Avoid Problem Activities 

When you can identify problem activities, it’s easier to adapt and avoid these actions that cause carpal tunnel flare-ups.

Use assistive devices such as jar openers, gripping aids, and ergonomic tools to make tasks easier and less taxing on the wrists.

Maintain a Healthy Lifestyle 

Adopting a healthy lifestyle can be useful for managing symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome. 

Maintain a balanced diet rich in anti-inflammatory foods, stay hydrated, and engage in regular activity that doesn’t overwork the wrists to promote overall well-being and reduce inflammation in the body.

Seek Medical Treatment 

If other measures fail to alleviate symptoms or if symptoms worsen over time, seek medical treatment from a healthcare professional. 

A doctor may recommend injections, physical therapy, or in severe cases, surgery to relieve pressure and help you avoid extreme pain day-to-day.

5 Products That Help With Carpal Tunnel

Springrose Adaptive Bra

The Springrose adaptive bra has a front-fastening Velcro design, making it easy to put on and take off without straining the wrists. Small changes to dressing and daily routines can help to avoid actions that trigger pain.

Ergonomic Keyboard and Mouse 

An ergonomic keyboard and mouse set will reduce strain on the wrists and hands during computer use. They promote natural wrist alignment and help to alleviate symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome.

Compression Gloves 

Compression gloves are designed to provide gentle compression and support to the hands and wrists, reducing swelling and discomfort associated with carpal tunnel syndrome. They can be worn during activities or while resting to alleviate symptoms and promote healing.

Wrist Support Brace 

A wrist support brace provides stability and immobilization to the wrist joint, reducing pressure on the median nerve and alleviating symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome. Choose a brace with adjustable straps for a customized fit and optimal support.

Voice-Activated Assistant 

Smart speakers or virtual assistants can help to minimize the need for typing or manual input when wrists are particularly painful. These devices allow users to perform tasks hands-free, reducing strain on the wrists and hands.

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