Up to 10 million Americans live with carpal tunnel syndrome and related hand weakness and pain. If you have carpal tunnel syndrome, you know that wearing wrist braces can help prevent a flare-up of your symptoms. But what else can you do to prevent carpal tunnel
Our team of talented orthopedic surgeons at Arizona Center for Hand to Shoulder Surgery in Phoenix and Mesa, Arizona, provide state-of-the-art treatments for carpal tunnel syndrome and personalized advice on preventing flare-ups.
Carpal tunnel flare-up causes
Carpal tunnel syndrome develops when inflammation in your wrist reduces the size of your carpal tunnel, compression your median nerve. Some of the common causes of swelling in your wrists include:
- Keeping your wrists in an overextended position for too long
- Repetitive motions like typing or playing piano
- Prolonged exposure to vibrations from hand tools
Additionally, conditions like diabetes, thyroid dysfunction, high blood pressure, and autoimmune diseases like rheumatoid arthritis can increase your risk of inflammation. Prior wrist injuries like fractures and dislocations also make it more likely that you’ll have carpal tunnel syndrome symptoms.
Prevent Carpal tunnel syndrome Flare-ups
Fortunately, you have a lot of control over these factors and can take care of your wrists to reduce your risk of a flare-up.
If you have a career or hobby that increases your risk of carpal tunnel syndrome, taking time to stretch your hands and wrists is critical. A simple stretch that you do anywhere is making fists and then opening your hands, stretching your fingers as far as possible. Repeat this movement 5-10 times several times a day.
Getting up and walking around for a couple of minutes every hour is recommended to protect your health. Try doing this stretch while you walk to the restroom or watercooler.
Our team can teach you other stretches and exercises to keep your hands and wrists flexible and healthy.
Keep your wrists neutral
You can also take steps to keep your wrists in a neutral position. You could wear braces or use a keyboard pad. You should also make sure that your workstation is set up correctly to keep your forearms, wrists, and hands in a straight line. In general, if you have carpal tunnel syndrome, you should be aware of your hands’ position, as over-extending or flexing can trigger your symptoms.
Pay attention to your posture
While you’re at it, make sure that you maintain proper posture throughout the day. If you slouch at your desk, chances are your arms and hands aren’t in the right positions. Poor posture can also trigger shoulder, neck, and back pain.
Manage other health conditions
Finally, if you have a health condition that increases your risk of inflammation and carpal tunnel symptoms, get appropriate treatment. Not only will this reduce inflammation in your wrists, but you improve your overall health and lower your risk of other complications.
Carpal tunnel is often manageable with sufficient care and lifestyle modifications. Call us here at Arizona Center for Hand to Shoulder Surgery or schedule an appointment online to prevent carpal tunnel syndrome treatment.