Often characterized by tingling, numbness, or a burning sensation in the tendons of the thumb or neighboring fingers, carpal tunnel can be a disabling syndrome. While it is most definitely a syndrome that you can live with, there are many helpful ways to prevent carpal tunnel from occurring in the first place. Let’s take a look at 9 things you can do to prevent carpal tunnel from being a reality in your life.
1. Avoid Repetitive Strains or Movements
Whether you regularly vacuum, work at the computer, or flip pizzas at work, doing so with the same consistent wrist movement or repetitive strain on fingers can cause carpal tunnel. Therefore, try to avoid overdoing it with certain activities and change up the motion in which you do them often – your hands will thank you.
2. Be Mindful When Typing
Typing on a keyboard plays a huge factor in developing carpal tunnel. Resting your wrists on your keypad while typing is something most people do, as it is comfortable no matter what your typing pace. Instead, try keeping your hands floating above the keypad and light. Additionally, learning how to use two hands to press two keys at the same will keep your fingers and wrists happy for a long time. Often, computer users will use one hand to select keys for convenience sake, but this actually poses a dangerous hand stretch.
3. Do Hand Exercises
The hand is one of the most overlooked parts of the body to exercise. However, it is one of the most important ones to ensure you are exercising every single day. Carpal tunnel preys on weak, un-stretched hands. Luckily, there are a variety of hand movements to incorporate into your daily routine to combat this syndrome. For example, simply closing and opening the hand can help. It can also be done with a stress ball for added resistance. Or, using hand weights while opening and closing your hands is ideal for building hand muscles, and they can be used in the car, on the train, or at an office desk.
4. Give Yourself a Break
Maybe the deadline for a paper for school or work has you typing like a mad scientist but giving yourself frequent breaks to stretch your wrist is a must in preventing carpal tunnel syndrome. Shake out those hands and wrists, open and close fingers, and even stretch arms behind your back to encourage blood flow. It is best to stretch and break for 5-10 minutes
5. Wear a Wrist Brace
A wrist brace comfortably uses compression and hugs the top and bottom of your wrist, providing maximum support. These braces can be worn during almost any activity, such as exercise, travel, styling hair, or driving. Any kind of wrist pain associated with carpal tunnel syndrome can easily be eliminated by wearing a brace.
6. Keep Fingers and Wrists Warm
Cold temperatures encourage joint and bone pain. To keep hands protected from uncomfortably cold environments, wearing warm gloves or placing them regularly in front of a heater can help prevent carpal tunnel syndrome. Sometimes we must be in environments where the temperature is not ideal, so always keeping thermal gloves on hand is helpful.
7. Practice Mindful Sleeping
Before falling asleep, ensure your hands are not in a squished or vulnerable position, such as stuffed under a pillow or under a spouse. Often, sleepers wake up and their wrists hurt or are stiff from their sleeping position. Over time, this could lead to serious problems such as painful carpal tunnel.
8. Relax Hand Grip
Not everyone notices when they are gripping their mouse or keyboard too tightly. Always check in with yourself during computer use to ensure you are relaxing those hands.
9. Take a Supplement
While there is no go-to supplement on the market to totally prevent or eliminate current carpal tunnel, there are supplements designed to help with prevention. These supplements range in prices and dosages, so always do your research before buying.
Carpal tunnel is a nasty syndrome that can leave hands suffering from an array of problems. Luckily, there are many easy ways to reduce your risk of developing this syndrome in your daily life.