What to Do if You Have Carpal Tunnel: 13 Effective Tips

what to do if you have carpal tunnel

Do you have carpal tunnel pain? You’re not alone and there is the possibility of recovery and/or treatment.

In fact, millions of people suffer from this condition each year. Fortunately, those that care enough to find treatment, do so with great outcomes of success.

In this blog post, we will discuss eleven tips on what to do if you have carpal tunnel. This information is based on expert advice and real-world experience.

So whether you’re just starting to experience symptoms or you’ve been dealing with carpal tunnel for a while, these tips will help! Keep reading to discover the signs of carpal tunnel and what you can do about it.

Carpal Tunnel: What Is It?

Carpal tunnel is a condition that occurs when the median nerve, which runs from the forearm to the hand, becomes compressed.

This can happen for a variety of reasons, such as repetitive motion (such as typing) or an injury. When this happens, it can cause pain, numbness, and tingling in the affected hand and fingers. In severe cases, carpal tunnel can even lead to weakness in the hand and loss of dexterity.

While carpal tunnel is often associated with office workers who spend hours at a computer, it can affect anyone who performs repetitive motions with their hands.

For example, assembly line workers, musicians, and athletes are all at risk of developing carpal tunnel. Additionally, women are more likely to develop carpal tunnel than men, and it is more common in people over the age of 40.

If you think you may have carpal tunnel, it’s important to see a doctor. Only a medical professional can diagnose the condition and rule out other potential causes of your symptoms.

Once the carpal tunnel is diagnosed, there are a number of treatment options available. These range from lifestyle changes to surgery. In most cases, a combination of treatments is recommended.

A Brief History of Carpal Tunnel Diagnosis and Treatment

Carpal tunnel has been around for centuries, but it was not formally recognized as a condition until the 19th century.

In 1854, French physician Paul Jaquin was the first to describe carpal tunnel syndrome in a medical journal. However, it was not until the 20th century that carpal tunnel began to be widely recognized and studied.

In the early 1900s, physicians began to treat carpal tunnel with splints and braces. These were designed to immobilize the wrist and prevent further damage to the median nerve. Surgery was also used to treat carpal tunnel, although this was typically the last resort.

By the mid-1900s, our understanding of carpal tunnel had grown considerably. In 1948, an American physician named Ralph Millard performed the first successful carpal tunnel release surgery. This was a major breakthrough, as it showed that surgery could be an effective treatment for carpal tunnel.

Today, there are a number of effective treatments for carpal tunnel. While surgery is sometimes necessary, in most cases conservative measures (such as splinting and bracing) are sufficient. With proper treatment, the vast majority of people with carpal tunnel are able to find relief from their symptoms.

Carpal Tunnel: What Are the Symptoms?

The most common symptom of carpal tunnel is pain in the hand and wrist. This pain may be sharp or dull, and it may come and go or be constant.

Other symptoms of carpal tunnel include numbness, tingling, and weakness in the hand and fingers. These symptoms typically affect the thumb, index finger, middle finger, and ring finger. The pinky finger is usually spared.

Symptoms of carpal tunnel are often worse at night. This is because gravity causes the median nerve to become compressed when you sleep with your wrist bent. As a result, you may wake up feeling pain or numbness in your hand.

Carpal tunnel symptoms typically develop gradually. However, they can sometimes come on suddenly, especially if the median nerve is compressed by an injury. If you experience a sudden onset of carpal tunnel symptoms, it’s important to see a doctor right away.

How Is Carpal Tunnel Diagnosed?

Carpal tunnel is typically diagnosed based on a physical examination and medical history. Your doctor will ask about your symptoms and how long you’ve been experiencing them.

They will also perform a physical exam of your hand and wrist. In some cases, additional testing may be necessary to confirm the diagnosis or rule out other potential causes of your symptoms.

The most common test used to diagnose carpal tunnel is nerve conduction studies. This test measures the electrical activity of the median nerve. It can help to confirm carpal tunnel and rule out other conditions that cause similar symptoms.

Carpal Tunnel Treatment: 13 Effective Tips

If you have carpal tunnel, there are a number of treatment options available. These range from lifestyle changes to surgery.

In most cases, a combination of treatments is recommended. Here are thirteen tips on what to do if you have carpal tunnel:

1. Use Brace/Splint

Wearing a splint or brace can help to immobilize the wrist and reduce pressure on the median nerve. This is often one of the first treatments recommended for carpal tunnel.

This works because the splint or brace keeps your wrist in a neutral position. This takes the pressure off of the median nerve and allows it to heal.

It’s important to wear the splint or brace as directed by your doctor. In most cases, you’ll need to wear it at night. You may also need to wear it during the day if your symptoms are severe.

Doing so will help to reduce your symptoms and allow the median nerve to heal.

2. Apply Ice/Cold Packs

Applying ice or cold packs to the affected area can help to reduce inflammation and pain. This is a simple and effective treatment for carpal tunnel.

To use this method, apply an ice pack (wrapped in a towel) to the affected area for 15-20 minutes. Do this several times per day, or as needed, to help reduce your symptoms.

You can also try taking a cold shower or bath. This can help to reduce inflammation and pain throughout the body, not just in the carpal tunnel area.

3. Take Anti-Inflammatory Medications

If over-the-counter pain relievers aren’t enough, your doctor may prescribe a stronger medication. These include anti-inflammatory drugs like corticosteroids.

Corticosteroids are powerful anti-inflammatory drugs that can be taken orally or injected into the carpal tunnel area. They can provide significant relief from carpal tunnel symptoms.

However, they should only be used for a short period of time. This is because they can have side effects, such as weight gain and mood swings.

4. Get Massage Therapy

Massage therapy can help to relieve pain and inflammation in the carpal tunnel area. It can also help to improve range of motion and reduce stiffness.

A certified massage therapist will use techniques like Swedish massage and trigger point release to relieve your symptoms. Massage therapy is usually done on a weekly or bi-weekly basis.

Doing so can help to significantly improve your carpal tunnel symptoms.

5. Stretch and Strengthen Your Hands and Wrists

Stretching and strengthening the muscles and tendons in your hands and wrists can help to reduce pressure on the median nerve. This, in turn, can help to relieve carpal tunnel symptoms.

There are a number of exercises that can help. These include wrist curls, finger stretches, and grasping exercises.

Doing these exercises regularly can help to improve your symptoms and prevent carpal tunnel from coming back.

6. Use Ergonomic Devices

If you work at a computer, it’s important to use ergonomic devices. This includes things like an ergonomic keyboard, mouse, and desk.

Using these devices can help to reduce the amount of strain on your hands and wrists. This, in turn, can help to reduce your carpal tunnel symptoms.

It’s also important to take breaks often and stretch your hands and wrists. Doing so will help to reduce the amount of strain on your median nerve.

7. Wear Wrist Guards

If you participate in activities that put a lot of strain on your wrists, such as weightlifting, it’s important to wear wrist guards.

Wearing wrist guards can help to reduce the amount of pressure on your median nerve. This, in turn, can help to relieve carpal tunnel symptoms.

8. Talk to Your Doctor About Surgery

If conservative treatment options don’t work, or if your symptoms are severe, you may need surgery. Surgery is usually done as a last resort.

During surgery, the doctor will cut the ligament that’s putting pressure on the median nerve. This relieves the symptoms of carpal tunnel.

Recovery from surgery takes time, but most people see a significant improvement in their symptoms.

9. Avoid Repetitive Motion

One of the best things you can do to prevent carpal tunnel is to avoid repetitive motion. If you work at a computer, take breaks often and stretch your hands and wrists.

If you participate in activities that put a strain on your wrists, such as weightlifting, be sure to wear wrist guards. Doing so will help to reduce your risk of developing carpal tunnel.

Carpal tunnel is a common condition, but there are a number of things you can do to prevent it.

10. Improve Posture

One of the best things you can do for your overall health is to improve your posture. Poor posture can lead to a number of problems, including carpal tunnel.

By improving your posture, you can help to reduce the amount of pressure on your median nerve. This, in turn, can help to relieve carpal tunnel symptoms.

There are a number of things you can do to improve your posture. These include:

  • Standing up straight
  • Avoiding slouching
  • Wearing comfortable, supportive shoes
  • Sleeping on a firm mattress

11. Get Adjustments from a Chiropractor

If you have poor posture, it’s important to get adjustments from a chiropractor. A chiropractor can help to improve your posture and reduce the amount of pressure on your median nerve.

This, in turn, can help to relieve carpal tunnel symptoms.

Chiropractic care is usually done on a weekly or bi-weekly basis. Doing so can help to significantly improve your symptoms.

12. Acupuncture

Acupuncture is a form of traditional Chinese medicine. It involves inserting thin needles into the skin at specific points on the body.

Acupuncture is thought to help improve carpal tunnel symptoms by reducing inflammation and relieving pain.

There is some evidence to support this claim. A study published in the Journal of Orthopaedic Surgery and Research found that acupuncture was effective at reducing carpal tunnel symptoms.

13. Surgery

If conservative treatment options don’t work, or if your symptoms are severe, you may need surgery. Surgery is usually done as a last resort.

During surgery, the doctor will cut the ligament that’s putting pressure on the median nerve. This relieves the symptoms of carpal tunnel.

Recovery from surgery takes time, but most people see a significant improvement in their symptoms.

Carpal Tunnel Treated Well

Carpal tunnel is a common condition, but now you know what to do if you have carpal tunnel.

If you have carpal tunnel pain, there are a number of effective treatment options available. With the right treatment, you can improve your symptoms and live a pain-free life.

If you think you may have carpal tunnel, be sure to talk to your doctor. They will be able to diagnose the condition and recommend the best course of treatment for you.

With the right treatment, the carpal tunnel doesn’t have to be a debilitating condition. You can live a normal, healthy life despite having this condition. So don’t hesitate to seek treatment, get in touch with us now to get help.

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