Carpal tunnel syndrome is a condition of the hand that is caused by excessive pressure or compression of the median nerve, a major nerve within the wrist.
The condition can be caused by genetics, but in most cases, carpal tunnel syndrome is caused by repetitive motions over an extended period. The condition often leads to pain, numbness, and muscle weakness.
There is no proven way to prevent carpal tunnel syndrome, but there are methods that can minimize stress on your hands and wrists, which can ultimately help reduce your risk of developing the condition.
Below are a few helpful tips to follow which can help reduce your chances of developing carpal tunnel syndrome:
Try to maintain a neutral position as often as possible
One of the most common causes of carpal tunnel syndrome is the repetitive flexing of the wrist. This motion happens frequently – we flex our wrists when we’re doing repetitive activities such as typing, driving, eating, writing, and so on.
Instead of flexing your wrist, try to maintain a neutral position. Try to imagine yourself shaking someone’s hand – you don’t need to bend your wrist to be able to do that. Maintain this position whenever you’re performing repetitive activities.
Take frequent breaks
Whenever you’re performing a repetitive activity such as typing, try to take a quick 10 to 15-minute break to allow your wrists to rest. During this time, a few stretching exercises or simply allowing your wrists to relax can be helpful.
In case you can’t afford to take a break, then switching to another task that requires a different movement, or changing your position can be helpful.
Relax your grip
You may not notice it, but you might be using unnecessary force when you’re performing daily tasks. The next time you hold a pen, type on a keyboard, or use a spoon, take note of the amount of force you’re using. Unnecessary force puts too much stress on our hands and wrists.
Avoid using too much force to squeeze, press, or grip anything. Instead, just relax your hands and do what is needed to accomplish the task.
Keep your hands warm
Being in cold environments can cause stiffness in our hands and wrists. Try to maintain a warm temperature in your working environment. Wear gloves if it’s cold outdoors, and consider buying a pair of fingerless gloves if the indoor temperature is beyond your control.
Maintain a healthy lifestyle
Carpal tunnel syndrome isn’t solely about hands and wrists. Maintaining your overall health by adapting a healthy lifestyle can also reduce the risk of developing the condition. Eat plenty of fruits and vegetables, exercise regularly and get a sufficient amount of sleep every night.
Wear a wrist splint if necessary
In case you’re already feeling a bit of stress on your wrists even if you’re following all of the tips above, you may want to consider wearing a wrist splint. Wrist splints can help your wrists maintain a neutral position, without causing discomfort. You can find one in most local pharmacies, or better yet, consult a doctor or physical therapist for a more advanced splint specially designed for your wrist.