As one of the leading causes for absence in the office-type work place, it also costs WSIB hundreds of thousands of dollars a year. Not only does it effect the individual but their home life and work place.
Carpal tunnel is when the median nerve in the forearm is pinched at the wrist. Symptoms commonly include tingling, numbness, weakness and pain in the wrist and hand. We will all experience symptoms similar to this at some point in our life, however, does not always mean we have carpal tunnel syndrome. There are ways to prevent all together, diagnose, reverse symptoms if not yet progressed to syndrome and ease symptoms once presented with carpal tunnel syndrome.
The following suggestions are for personal care:
#1: Make sure you take adequate breaks from typing and use a cushion at the edge of your keyboard to prevent pressure on the carpal tunnel, as in on the median nerve within the small space in the wrist.
#2: If you are at the point where you are experiencing symptoms, then ice your wrist(s) for 10-15 minutes at a time, once or twice an hour until issues have subsided.
#3: Avoid any activities or movements that irritate it such as weight bearing activities like push ups or some yoga poses.
#4: Stretches and strengthening of the wrist and hand are useful; consider investing in a stress ball or gripper for squeezing exercises and an elastic band for opening the hand exercises.
#5: As long as you aren't relying on this frequently, another helpful thing is using non-steroidal anti-inflammatories (NSAIDS); these can help reduce inflammation, thus reduce the pain and contribute to healing.
#6: If you have progressed to the point where it is a constant issue and you are diagnosed with syndrome, consider investing in wrist braces to wear at night to relieve pressure while you are sleeping.
#7: In addition, Manual Osteopathy, Massage, Acupuncture, and Chiropractic care are a way to relieve pain, and Naturopathic care can help with supplementing your diet with anti-inflammatory rich properties. For example, a good option for any inflammation in the body is to have a diet rich in turmeric and omegas.
If you are at the point where none of the above helps your situation, consult your physician to see if surgery is a possible option. Although the last resort, it will give you a better quality of life and relieve the pain.
Cheers to pain free wrists and better quality of life,
Melissa Kennedy, DOMP, Osteopathic Manual Practitioner