Carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS) is a problem that affects the wrist and hand. If you have CTS, tingling and numbness can make even simple tasks hard to do. But CTS can be treated, and your symptoms can be controlled.

 

 

Learning about Carpal Tunnel

The carpal tunnel is a narrow space inside the wrist that is surrounded by bone and ligament. This space lets certain tendons and a major nerve pass from the forearm into the hand. With CTS, the tendon sheaths may thicken and enlarge. This reduces the amount of space inside the carpal tunnel. As a result, the median nerve may be compressed.

The Symptoms of CTS

Tingling and numbness are the most common symptoms of CTS. Some people also have hand pain or even a weakened grip. At first, symptoms may wake you up at night. Later, they may also occur during your daily routines. For instance, you may notice symptoms while you are driving or holding a newspaper. Your symptoms may become more severe over time.

 Working with Your Doctor

Your doctor will perform an exam to learn more about your symptoms. Once your problem is diagnosed, you and your doctor can make a treatment plan. He or she can help you learn about symptom relief and surgery. If you have surgery, you are likely to go home the same day.

 

Carpal Tunnel Syndrome Prevention Tips

Some repetitive hand activities put you at higher risk for carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS). But you can reduce your risk. Learn how to change the way you use your hands. Below are tips for at home and on the job. Be sure to also follow the hand and wrist safety policies at your workplace.

Keep Your Wrist in Neutral

Keep a neutral (straight) wrist position as often as you can. Don’t use your wrist in a bent (flexed) position for long periods of time. This includes extended or twisted positions.

Watch Your Grip

Don’t just use your thumb and index finger to grasp or lift. This can put stress on your wrist. When you can, use your whole hand and all its fingers to grasp an object.

Minimize Repetition

Don’t move your arms or hands or hold an object in the same way for long periods of time. Even simple, light tasks can cause injury this way. Instead, alternate tasks or switch hands.

Rest Your Hands

Give your hands a break from time to time with a rest. Even a few minutes once an hour can help.

Reduce Speed and Force

Slow down the speed in which you do a forceful, repetitive motion. This gives your wrist time to recover from the effort. Use power tools to help reduce the force.

Strengthen the Muscles

Weak muscles may lead to a poor wrist or arm position. Exercises will make your hand and arm muscles stronger. This can help you keep a better position.