Carpal tunnels syndrome is a syndrome that can be very painful indeed and can interfere with life and functioning. It has a broad range of effects, from mild tingling in the wrists, fingers and hands to severe pain that interferes with functioning or even completely disables the sufferer. In the vast majority of cases, carpal tunnel syndrome can be treated, but in some cases, those treatments may be invasive and painful.
Many different ways exist of treating carpal tunnel syndrome. They depend partially on how severe your condition is and partially on what happens to work best for you. In the majority of cases, the first thing that gets recommended is that you put on a wrist brace to immobilize the movement of the wrist’s ligaments so that they don’t deteriorate with more repeated movements. But the brace is almost always worn only at night during sleep. The hand is left free for use during the day, but it’s recommended that the hand’s normal range of activity be curtailed as much as possible. This can even extend to not using the dominant hand, if that’s the injured one, to open the door, brush your teeth, and do all of the little routine things that you do without thinking. This can make for some clumsiness but is supposed to help with the healing.
In most cases, the brace is worn for about two weeks, and the treatment can be combined with use of anti-inflammatories like aspirin, ibuprofen, acetaminophen, or naproxen sodium. One company has also developed a device that is purportedly similar to the standard brace but is more flexible and fits better. It also gently pulls on the swollen inflamed areas so that the pressure on the median nerve is reduced and therefore symptoms are also reduced.
If you spend a lot of time keyboarding, an ergonomic keyboard may help avoid or minimize symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome. A wrist pad, too, will help alleviate or avoid symptoms. Make sure forearms, wrists and hands are aligned and parallel to the floor, and that you take about a 10 minute break every hour to massage your hands during work. During this time, you can also do specially designed CTS exercises meant to minimize or eliminate carpal tunnel syndrome symptoms.
If pain and other symptoms persist, a doctor might prescribe you cortisol medication. These contain steroids and can’t be bought OTC. If you reach this stage, you might want to look into some other treatment options for your CTS, too. Chiropractic medicine has been shown to have some success with CTS, and may involved ultrasound as well as joint (and spinal) manipulation. Likewise, acupuncture treatment programs have been officially recognized as being able to help with CTS. But, these treatments involve more than just acupuncture itself. They also include dietary practices and herbal treatments. Laser acupuncture or the traditional needles may be used.
If you’ve tried all of these methods and nothing has seemed to work for long, your doctor may recommend surgery. If this is shown to be the best method for you, your doctor may recommend endoscopic surgery or traditional surgery. Endoscopic surgery has the advantage of being less invasive than traditional surgery, with a shorter recovery. With either type of surgery, the transverse carpal nerve is cut in order to relieve symptoms. This certainly should not affect the use of your hands either in terms of mobility or strength, but you can and probably will have at least minimal scarring. You’ll also have some temporary swelling and pain immediately after the surgery that will diminish quite quickly. And of course, as with any surgery, there are risks, including nerve damage that may result from the surgery itself.
Perhaps the best way to prevent CTS is to do exercises specifically designed to prevent and treat it. These exercises are perfect because they don’t require you to take drugs, are noninvasive, don’t cost any money, and are convenient; all they take is a few minutes of your time and attention. Try these before you try the other methods for relief and even cure, especially if your CTS is just beginning.
Trying these simple carpal tunnel exercises, as provided by Thom Nicholson (noted CTS Guru), can help you holistically treat your symptoms and reduce the pain caused by Carpal Tunnel Syndrome without invasive surgery. Help your body heal itself!