You may have a hobby for which you use your hands, or your job requires plenty of keyboarding. Many tasks require frequent and repeated movements of the hands. Over time, you might feel odd sensations, including numbness, tingling, weakness, and pain.
It’s the onset of carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS), a soft tissue injury that results in problems created by compression of the median nerve. The bones and ligaments at the base of your hand form an archway through which the median nerve and other structures pass. This archway, the carpal tunnel, can collapse, creating this pressure.
The hand and wrist specialists at Bahri Orthopedics & Sports Medicine are here to help when CTS pain interferes with your daily living. There are, though, things that you can do to treat yourself and even prevent CTS. We’ve collected this list of five ways to prevent carpal tunnel pain.
The RICE method
RICE stands for rest, ice, compression, and elevation, and it’s a common first-aid approach to many soft tissue problems. When it comes to CTS, apply RICE like this:
- Take a break: discontinue any activity that causes CTS pain
- Ice: use a cold compress to reduce inflammation and relieve pain
- Compression: wrap your wrist in an elastic bandage or get a wrist splint to align and support your hand, using it when possible to prevent carpal tunnel collapse
- Elevate: Keep your wrist at or above heart level as you rest to encourage fluid drainage
It’s not always possible to completely rest from actions that aggravate CTS pain. Do what you can to limit the most demanding of these and consider a wrist brace as a rest and compression solution.
Stretch and shake
Some stretches and shakes can help relieve the pressure on the carpal tunnel and median nerve. While these on their own probably aren’t enough to sidestep CTS, they work alongside other therapies as part of a combination approach to treatment. Research until you find exercises that work for you, or talk to our team about specific routines to help your condition.
A common class of pain medications called non-steroidal anti-inflammatories (NSAIDs) are readily available at your local pharmacy. Aspirin, ibuprofen, and naproxen can each relieve pain symptoms while reducing inflammation.
Some sources suggest warm water soaks three or four times a day, while others recommend fingerless gloves to help reduce pain and stiffness symptoms. Portable rechargeable hand warmers may also provide relief.
See a specialist
When home care techniques provide little relief, it’s time to visit the Bahri Orthopedics & Sports Medicine experts. We can take your treatment to the next level. Often, our patients find that corticosteroid injections provide aggressive anti-inflammatory relief that allows them to recover in combination with other therapies.
We will confirm your CTS diagnosis and recommend a course of treatment. In severe cases when CTS doesn’t respond to more conservative treatments, we might recommend surgery to release a ligament, providing more room in the carpal tunnel and relieving median nerve pressure.
Book your consultation with the nearest Bahri Orthopedics & Sports Medicine location in Jacksonville, Florida, online or by phone. Leaving CTS untreated can lead to further complications and more challenging treatment. Plan your visit today.