In the new era of computers, more Americans than ever are going to work at an office and perform all their duties on a desktop computer. While this might promote productivity, it also promotes an unforeseen consequence: carpal tunnel syndrome. Usually called just carpal tunnel, this condition manifests as numbness, tingling, or pain in the hand, arm, or wrist caused by pinched and sore nerves. One of the leading causes of carpal tunnel is extended periods of time typing on a non-ergonomic keyboard.
Each year, millions of Americans will be diagnosed with carpal tunnel. Despite its commonality, it remains a condition that is difficult to treat. Some people undergo complicated and risky surgery, and others begin prescription medication regimens that last the rest of their lives and can cause side effects. What many do not know is that physical therapy can provide great benefits and alleviate symptoms, and many therapy options can be done right in the home.
Four things you can do at home to curb or reduce carpal tunnel symptoms are:
- Wrist splint: If your carpal tunnel pain is persistent or moderate, you can consider wearing a wrist splint throughout the day or at night. A wrist splint will help keep your wrist in a natural position to relieve joint and nerve pressure.
- Ice: Many mild forms of pain or irritation caused by nerve damage can be temporarily alleviated by an ice pack. Once an hour, put ice on your wrist for 10 minutes. You should not place ice directly against your skin, as this can cause tissue damage; only use ice packs intended for medical functionality.
- Rest: The moment you start noticing pain or numbness in your hands, stop whatever activity you are doing and take a brief rest. This might be the right time to ice your wrist if you haven’t already. If the pain continues once you do, you may want to speak to your employer, assuming you are working at an office computer, about different options, such as using speech-to-text software.
- Stretch: You can use gentle, gradual stretches throughout the day but especially in the morning and at night to strengthen your hands, wrists, and forearms. You should never perform any stretch that causes you to experience pain, even slight. If you do not know what stretches are safe for you, talking to a physical therapist can help.
At ProFysio, our Aberdeen physical therapists are highly-experienced in massage therapy, strength and conditioning techniques, and other physical therapy options. We can help you understand options that may help relieve your carpal tunnel syndrome at the source. It is also believed that high levels of stress can worsen carpal tunnel and other conditions originating from damaged nerves. Simply enrolling in a massage therapy schedule at our facility can roll stress off your shoulders and bring about a general feeling of improvement.
Call us at 732.333.6360 to schedule your consultation. We accept most insurance plans!