Best Carpal Tunnel Treatment Ideas
By Jean D
, last updated November 18, 2011
The best carpal tunnel treatment ideas are surprisingly easy to incorporate into your everyday life. In most cases, carpal tunnel syndrome develops because you're holding your hand in an unnatural position for a long period of time. By making just a few adjustments in the way you work, play and sleep, you can eliminate those positions, reduce inflammation and develop hand-friendly habits that can keep pain from returning.
Your carpal tunnel is located in your wrist, just below your palm. The nerve that supplies your fingers runs through this tight channel. At work, you may put pressure on this channel without even knowing it. Slamming on the keys on your keyboard, clutching vibrating equipment or keeping your wrists bent up or down all day as you type can cause your wrists to tighten and swell, and the nerve becomes pinched. The more pinched the nerve is, the more pain and tingling you feel in your fingertips. The goal of carpal tunnel treatment is to release that pressure so your nerve doesn't cause pain.
If you already have pain, burning and tingling in your fingers, it's time to get serious about treatments. Consider taking an over-the-counter anti-inflammatory medication if you're in severe pain. This can help you focus on your treatments instead of your discomfort. Before you go to bed at night, put your hand in a splint. Any splint you can find at a drugstore will do the trick. The splint will keep your wrist straight, and help your tissues relax and soften.
Keeping your arms and hands limber is key to helping your carpal tunnel syndrome dissipate. Doing a few simple stretches when you wake up, during your breaks at work and before you go to bed can make a world of difference. Stand with your arms extended in front of you and bend your wrists up toward the ceiling. Hold for a count of five, and then straighten your wrists. Make fists out of your hands and point your knuckles down at the ground. Hold for a count of five, and then straighten your wrists. Finish your exercise by shaking out your arms at your sides.
As you work, think about reducing the force you put on your hands and fingers. Don't pound down with your fingers and don't clutch equipment with white knuckles. Work with your wrists in a straight position, instead of bending your wrist all the way up or down. During your breaks, walk away from your work area and perform your stretches. Surfing the Web on your breaks only puts more pressure on your hands.
If these simple tricks don't work, it might be time to talk to your doctor. Some people have underlying conditions such as arthritis or diabetes that can make carpal tunnel worse, and those conditions must be dealt with before the hand pain goes away. In addition, cases of carpal tunnel that have been going on for a long time can also be resistant to home treatments. Sometimes, surgery truly is the best way to open up the channel and stop the pain for good.