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How to Prevent Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

Author: Rosemary Buckle, M.D.

Carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS) is a disorder that occurs in the wrist, causing pain, weakness, and numbness in the hand. In patients with CTS, the median nerve becomes compressed, producing these painful and uncomfortable symptoms. Median nerve impingement typically occurs when the surrounding tissues become swollen. These tissues may swell because of a medical condition (diabetes, arthritis, hypothyroidism, etc.), working condition, or other factors. Many people who work with heavy equipment or perform repetitive tasks with their hands may be prone to developing CTS.

Preventing Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

Follow these suggestions to reduce stress on your hands and wrist.

  • Take a break. Get up and stretch your hands and arms. If you are involved in repetitive work (like typing) or work that involves heavy or vibrating equipment, frequent breaks are especially important. If you have the option to alternate between types of tasks, consider doing so.
  • Loosen up. Many people are prone to grip with more force than is necessary. Practice loosening up your grip (or reducing your force); check to see if there are tools that can help you get the job done with a looser grip (clippers, pens, and keyboards, for example, all have these options).
  • Practice form. When typing, your wrist should be in a relaxed middle position.
  • Practice good posture. Slouching forward or hunching over the keys can compress nerves in the neck and shoulders. This posture can have ramifications for your wrists and increase the likelihood of developing CTS.
  • Keep hands and fingers warm. Cooler temperatures can cause pain and stiffness.

Exercises for Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

  1. Clench your fingers into a fist. Release while fanning out the fingers. Repeat five times.
  2. Slowly pull back the thumb and hold for five seconds. Repeat ten times.
  3. Stretch your forearms by placing your palms and fingers against one another (a prayer-like position). Then raise your elbows, stretching out the forearm muscles. Hold this position then slowly release.

Schedule With a Houston Sports Medicine Physician

Are you experiencing pain in your hands or wrist? Are you concerned that it could be carpal tunnel syndrome? For an evaluation and diagnosis, schedule an appointment with a Houston orthopedic physician at Houston Institute for Sports Medicine and Orthopedics. If caught early on, carpal tunnel syndrome can be prevented or even reversed. Act now to take charge of your own health and seek the best possible outcome.

In the event that surgery is necessary, know that CTS release surgery is one of the most common hand surgeries. This procedure has a high success rate in getting rid of nighttime pain and improving quality of life. For more information about carpal tunnel syndrome, contact us at (713) 756-5546 or schedule your appointment online.

Please consult with your physician before undertaking any form of medical treatment or adopting any exercise program or dietary guidelines.