A repetitive stress injury involving compression of the median nerve in the wrist, carpal tunnel causes pain, weakness, numbness and tingling in the hands and fingers. These symptoms are often accompanied by an “electric shock” sensation that travels up your arm, especially if you are holding something (a phone, steering wheel, plastic grocery bags). The median nerve is a major nerve of the body responsible for innervating several arm muscles. When it suffers compression and inflammation due to carpal tunnel tendons and bones in the wrist pressing against the nerve, it will produce symptoms of CTS.
We often use more force than necessary when hitting computer keys, clutching golf clubs or holding writing instruments. Try to be aware of how much strength you put into hitting something with your fingers or gripping slender objects and reduce that force as much as possible.
Stop and stretch your arms, fingers and hands every 30 minutes for a couple of minutes. Do enough stretching motions to get blood flowing into your hands and fingers. Reach for the sky, spread your fingers apart, remain in that position for a moment and then do a two or three toe touches.
While working, never bend your wrists excessively. Keep your wrists in moderately relaxed positions to avoid stressing the median nerve and carpal tunnel tendons. If you are in front of a desktop computer, make sure you can reach your keyboard and mouse without overextending your arms and hands.
Wearing a wrist wrap/stabilizer not only reduces pain while you sleep but helps relieve median nerve pressure by keeping your wrist straight and immobile. However, chiropractors do not recommend wearing wrist splints while working since they may strain tendons in the wrist and hand.
Cold environments tend to induce nerve and tendon inflammation. Wear warm gloves if you must perform repetitive manual tasks outside or in refrigerated conditions.
Chiropractic techniques can relieve CTS pain and numbness. Schedule an appointment with The Chiropractic Doctors.
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This article was reviewed and approved by Dr. Matthew Phinney.