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Tips For Living With Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

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Tips For Living With Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

Tips on how to fight of the symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome.

Long stints tapping keys is a carpal tunnel syndrome sufferer’s worst nightmare. Repeated movements of the fingers, in oft-unergonomic position is a sure-fire way of agitating symptoms. And during the winter, these symptoms creep in seemingly faster than during the warmer months of the year.

If you suffer with mild symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome, and you’re forced to spend time hitting keys on your computer, below are some tips you can employ to help fight off the pain.

living with carpal tunnel syndrome Tips For Living With Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

  • Use an ergonomic keyboard or laptop: Spending too much time using poorly placed touchpads and seriously small keyboards is bad for hand posture. Try not to buy a laptop based only upon what you plan to do with it. First and foremost, make sure that it conforms to your body’s needs–not the other way around.
  • Take regular breaks: Dr. Thomas M. Marsella, with the Occupational Health Services department of the Physician Foundation at California Pacific Medical Center says: “Micro breaks are the surest way to prevent repetitive strain injuries. They let the body recover from activities,”
  • Keep Warm: If you have to brave the cold going from your house to your computer workstation, try wearing gloves to help keep your blood circulating. Even if you drive to work.
  • Do hand and finger stretches. “We see younger people coming in with hand problems these days. Usually, as the body ages, people aren’t as flexible and able to recover. So don’t forget to exercise,” Marsella says.
    • Stretch 1 – Extending your fingers and placing your palms together in front of you, put your elbows out and gently press your hands together. For the proper form, think somewhere between “Zen prayer” and “evil genius.”
    • Stretch 2 – First, extend your left arm and hold your left hand parallel to the floor, palm down. Take your right hand and place it across your left one. The four fingers of your right hand should be on the back of your left hand, with your right thumb pressed against your left palm’s base. Gently push your left hand downward. Now, switch hands.
    • Stretch 3 – The proper sitting posture at your desk is an “L” shape. Your ears should be over your shoulders. If you’re leaning into your computer, you’re straining your neck. To ease that, start with your head craned slightly up and forward. Now, slowly bring your head toward your chest and tuck a little to make a double chin.

What is carpal tunnel syndrome?

Carpal tunnel syndrome occurs when the median nerve, which runs from the forearm into the hand, becomes pressed or squeezed at the wrist. The median nerve controls sensations to the palm side of the thumb and fingers (although not the little finger), as well as impulses to some small muscles in the hand that allow the fingers and thumb to move.

The carpal tunnel – a narrow, rigid passageway of ligament and bones at the base of the hand –┬áhouses the median nerve and tendons. Sometimes, thickening from irritated tendons or other swelling narrows the tunnel and causes the median nerve to be compressed. The result may be pain, weakness, or numbness in the hand and wrist, radiating up the arm.

Although painful sensations may indicate other conditions, carpal tunnel syndrome is the most common and widely known of the entrapment neuropathies in which the body’s peripheral nerves are compressed or traumatized. [National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke]

Symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome

  • Tingling or numbness in your fingers or hand, especially your thumb and index, middle or ring fingers, but not your little finger. This sensation often occurs while holding a steering wheel, phone or newspaper or upon awakening.
  • Some carpal tunnel sufferers say their fingers feel useless and swollen, even though little or no swelling is apparent.
  • Decreased grip strength may make it difficult to form a fist, grasp small objects, or perform other manual tasks.
  • Pain radiating or extending from your wrist up your arm to your shoulder or down into your palm or fingers, especially after forceful or repetitive use. This usually occurs on the palm side of your forearm.
  • A sense of weakness in your hands and a tendency to drop objects.
  • Many people “shake out” their hands to try to relieve their symptoms. As the disorder progresses, the numb feeling may become constant.

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