One of the most common conditions in the hand and wrist is carpal tunnel syndrome. This occurs when a nerve in the wrist is compressed. It is caused by daily activities which require constant and repetitive use of hands, fingers and arms. Quick, repetitive movements cause friction of the muscle inside the wrist, resulting in the swelling of the nerve. At The Central Orthopedic Group, one of the most frequent questions we receive is “Can Carpal Tunnel Syndrome be prevented?”. Frustratingly enough, the answer is “yes and no.” Carpal tunnel syndrome has multiple factors associated with it, but some risks are preventable! Some conditions can increase your risks, like Rheumatoid Arthritis and Diabetes. Patients with these conditions may have a higher risk for also developing carpal tunnel syndrome.
While treatment and prevention are very much a case-by-case determinate, there are some incredibly effective methods to manage or even rule out a carpal tunnel syndrome diagnosis.
1. Change Your Work Set-up!
Adjust your monitor alignment, switch out you mousepad for one with gel wrist support, or adjust the height of your chair and desk. Simple changes like this can help reduce the stress and inflammation in your wrist.
2. Exercise & Rest Periods
Another great preventative measure for CTS is to consciously take breaks and stretch. Shake hands and fingers, bend your wrist and hand backwards, rotate head and neck, and massage forearms. All of this exercises will help relax your muscles. It is also important to complete regular activities, such as walking, swimming or riding a bike a few times a week. Be aware of your posture, keeping feet flat to the floor and forearms parallel.
A well-known risk factor of carpal tunnel syndrome is obesity. Speak to your physician about diets which promote anti-inflammatory results. In addition, it is important to cut down on caffeine and avoid smoking.
These treatments are only a portion of the overall preventative measures for carpal tunnel syndrome. The knowledgeable and compassionate team of orthopedists at The Central Orthopedic Group are on hand to diagnose, educate and treat their patients for lifelong care and management of their carpal tunnel diagnosis.