Carpal Tunnel Syndrome (CTS) is a very common problem that is often associated with work-related activities. This article focuses on how to prevent CTS. Of course, if you already have CTS, you should still read this in order to learn preventative measures that also work while you receive treatment for your condition.
The concept is to think about prevention as a matter of economics. As you lose time from work because of CTS, if affects your bottom line, and I’m sure you have bills to pay and mouths to feed (…or at least one)! So please take the advice offered here seriously, as we are genuine about our concern for your well-being and not losing work time is a huge component of all of our “well-being!”
If you’ve experienced sore wrists or hands, sudden sharp jabs of pain up the forearm, noted numbness and/or burning in your fingers (especially the index through 4th / ring finger), wake up at night needing to shake and flick your fingers to “wake them up,” have weakness in your grip strength, are slowing down at work (whether it’s typing/computer work, assembly line work, cooking, serving tables, and so on), then you likely NEED to do the following NOW! The goal here is prevent work loss and surgery (as up to six weeks of lost work time will be required if surgery is needed).
- Anti-inflammatory measures: This starts with a healthy diet. STOP eating foods that inflame such as omega-6 fatty acid-rich foods (“GOOGLE” omega-6 and print out the list of food). Emphasize fruits, vegetables, lean meats, and nuts and AVOID grains because of glutens, which many of us have a sensitivity against. Vitamins such as a multiple, magnesium, fish oil (omega 3 fatty acids), vitamin D3, and CoQ10 are GREAT! Freeze water in a small cup and rub it on the wrist/carpal tunnel until it gets numb (takes 3-5 minutes) and do that 2-3 times a day. Consider natural anti-inflammatories such as ginger, turmeric, cercumen, bioflavinoides, and others.
- Stretch: Bear-claw, fist, “High-5” (opened hand with the fingers fanned out) reps, wrist extensions on the wall/table stretches (elbows straight).
- Rest: Cock-up splint, take mini-breaks, and get sound/restoring sleep. IT REALLY HELPS!
- Ergonomic modifications: Position your computer keyboard, mouse and monitor so that you are looking straight ahead at a slight downward angle and your elbows are at a 90° or slightly less of an angle when typing. Set an alarm on your computer to go off every 15 minutes as a reminder to “shake and flick” your hands, wiggle your fingers, do your stretches, and/or squeeze a soft ball. Write with a fat pen vs. a skinny one – this helps a lot!
- Weight management: Obesity is a common risk factor for developing CTS.
- Manage other health issues: Diabetes, thyroid disease, inflammatory arthritis, neck/shoulder or elbow problems can all contribute to or even cause CTS.
Think of the above measures as minimums and obtain professional care to help you further. You have choices between the traditional medical model of cortisone shots, anti-inflammatory medication, and surgery vs. chiropractic care which includes manipulation and mobilization of the fingers, hand, wrist, elbow, shoulder, and neck as needed, splinting at night, anti-inflammatory diet and nutrients, ergonomic modification, and exercise training, which ALL will help to treat as well as prevent future CTS problems, EVEN IF you’ve had surgery already!