Carpal Tunnel Syndrome can occur for many reasons such as pregnancy, repetitive strain injury, trauma to the area and arthritis. Anyone that has experienced carpal tunnel related pain can attest to the fact that it can be extremely debilitating, making it difficult to work or do certain everyday tasks.
While those that experience carpal tunnel syndrome that does not respond to conservative therapies often require surgery, there are an abundance of non-surgical options that you can try and may be recommended to try by your physician. Here are three ways you can manage carpal tunnel syndrome:
Get the Support of a Physiotherapist
In addition to the support of your primary care physician, those suffering the carpal tunnel syndrome can greatly benefit from regular physiotherapy appointments. A physiotherapy clinic like Impact Physio & Sport Clinic can offer a wide variety of treatment approaches for managing your carpal tunnel syndrome both before and after any surgical intervention including manual therapy, help with bracing, exercise prescription and acupuncture.
Make Adjustments at Work and Home
One of the most important things you can do to manage your carpal tunnel symptoms is making the appropriate adjustments to your day to day life. This includes changes to how you work as well as your home life and lifestyle. Some adjustments you may need to make include:
If you suffer from carpal tunnel syndrome you probably notice an increase in symptoms when you’re trying to fall asleep. This is a common trait associated with carpal tunnel syndrome and can often be the most detrimental as it impacts overall quality of sleep. One way this is addressed is by the use of braces or splints – splints can help keep the wrist straight thus relieving some of the pressure on the nerve and resulting in more manageable symptoms. Bracing and splints can also be helpful for those that have jobs requiring repetitive tasks.
Desk/Work Setup Ergonomics
Ergonomics are important for everyone, but they can be especially important for those that suffer with carpal tunnel syndrome.Those that work at a desk or perform repetitive tasks for their job can make changes that allow their wrists to maintain a more neutral position which can greatly improve symptoms. This would include things like adjusting the height, angle and positioning of their keyboard, desk chair, or any tools they use and avoid maintaining the same position for long periods of time.
Bracing and ergonomics can be overwhelming to navigate because there’s an abundance of information out there. When you’re looking to incorporate these types of changes in your day-to-day life to help manage your carpal tunnel it’s best to get the advice of a professional like the physiotherapists and occupational therapists at Empower Physical Rehabilitation.
Give Yourself a Break
Just like any other injury, it’s important to give yourself time to rest. While it can be difficult to give yourself a break, especially when it comes to managing a long-term condition such as carpal tunnel syndrome. Rest and try to avoid use of your affected arm for at least an hour or two each day and avoid overuse especially on days where pain and symptoms are worse. It can be helpful to keep your arm elevated while resting to help with any inflammation, this includes trying to keep your arm elevated while you sleep.
Hydrotherapy may be beneficial. Experiment with the use of ice or heat for 10-15 minutes a few times a day, you may respond better to the use of one temperature or may find that ice helps when you experience any swelling or acute pain while heat may help if you’re experiencing any tension or pain from overuse.
Giving yourself a break also means putting your needs first. While we may not want to take over the counter (OTC) pain meds all the time, if you’re really struggling with your pain and symptoms make use of these medications.
If you find that you’re unable to manage your carpal tunnel syndrome with conservative therapies make sure you’re regularly checking in with your primary care physician. While conservative therapies can help with the management of symptoms, carpal tunnel often requires surgical intervention, and it’s best to consult with your doctor.
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