Home Treatment Tips for Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
Not all pain or numbness in the hand is caused by Carpal Tunnel Syndrome. So first it is important to know the symptoms of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome.
Carpal Tunnel Syndrome is caused by a compression of the Median Nerve at the wrist. Mild Carpal Tunnel Syndrome can cause symptoms of pain and numbness and tingling in thumb, Index, middle and 1/2 of the ring finger. (numbness of the small finger is not typical of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome) Often numbness is worse at night and will awaken you. Symptoms can also be brought on by activities. You may feel a “tightness” or Stiffness” in your hand.
Moderate Carpal Tunnel Syndrome can cause numbness in your fingers to become more frequent to constant and weakness develops in the muscles of the thumb. This can cause you to have difficulty with simple tasks such as opening a jar or manipulating objects. This may cause you to accidentally drop objects. When Carpal Tunnel Syndrome becomes severe, Numbness is typically constant and the thumb muscle becomes smaller and weaker (atrophy). Often the pain symptoms will lessen with severe carpal tunnel syndrome. Severe Carpal Tunnel Syndrome that is left untreated can cause permanent damage to your median nerve and permanent muscle strength loss in thumb.
If you have Mild Carpal Tunnel Syndrome it is reasonable to try these home treatments:
** Wear a wrist splint at night to keep your wrist in a neutral position. This will reduce pressure on your median Nerve.
** If possible, take a break from the activities that aggravate your symptoms. If you must do the activity, make sure to keep your wrist straight (mid range) when you use your hand and resume the activity gradually.
** Cold pack placed at palm side of wrist post activity for 10-15 minutes can help relieve pain and swelling.
** Use good posture when performing activities as rounded shoulders or slouched postures can contribute to nerve irritation throughout the entire arm.
** If your Mild Carpal Tunnel symptoms do not resolve within 2 weeks of home treatment, Additional treatment may be necessary by a Therapist or a Physician.
A Hand Therapist can help you relieve symptoms by teaching you stretches, performing manual techniques and showing you how to modify symptom aggravating activities. They can also provide you with an appropriate splint. Treatments such as Ultrasound may also be recommended to promote nerve healing. If you have Moderate to severe Carpal Tunnel syndrome, a visit to a Hand Surgeon is advised.
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