As any longtime carpal tunnel sufferer can attest, this affliction can impact virtually every facet of your daily life. Whether you’re plugging away at work or taking it easy at home, the pain associated with carpal tunnel syndrome stands to put a damper on your everyday activities. Luckily, in many cases, CTS pain is fairly easy to manage. A little bit of knowledge and a willingness to try new things can prove tremendously helpful in the fight against this common – but intensely frustrating – nerve issue. CTS sufferers looking to keep pain and discomfort in check will be well-served by the following tips.
Wear a Wrist Brace
A dependable wrist brace can be an invaluable ally in the fight against carpal tunnel syndrome. The right brace can provide CTS sufferers with much-needed relief and reduce the pain associated with a broad assortment of everyday tasks. A carpal tunnel brace ensures that your wrist stays in a straight, neutral position, thus preventing bending, which puts pressure on the median nerve. In addition to bending our wrists when we sleep, many of us consistently bend them when typing and performing other tasks involving repeated motion, so no one afflicted by carpal tunnel syndrome should be without a high-quality brace.
Give Yourself Breaks from Repetitive Tasks
Being afflicted with carpal tunnel syndrome can make one fully aware of how much repetition is involved with many of the tasks we perform on a daily basis. For example, typing, writing, playing video games and various other activities that involve using our hands entail a substantial amount of repetition, and since all of these tasks can put a strain on the wrist, they’re liable to trigger carpal tunnel pain. Unfortunately, not engaging in pain-inducing activities, particularly ones related to work, isn’t really an option for many CTS sufferers.
If taking an extended break from certain tasks is off the table, make a point of giving yourself short breaks from these activities throughout the day. If you spend the entire workday at a computer, for instance, take care to give yourself a short break every 15 minutes. Similarly, if video games are among your favorite leisure activities, hit the pause button every 15 minutes. During these designated break periods, you can increase blood flow to CTS-affected areas by wiggling your fingers, stretching your hands and moving your wrists.
For some people, taking regular breaks is liable to prove inconvenient. If you’re on a roll with work or wrapped up in an intense gaming session, temporarily taking yourself out of the zone may not strike you as an attractive prospect. While hesitance is certainly understandable, regular breaks can provide you with significant relief from carpal tunnel pain, even if the effects aren’t immediate. Additionally, once you’ve gotten yourself into the habit of taking consistent breaks, your break periods are liable to seem far less cumbersome. To help get yourself accustomed to taking breaks, set a timer to go off every 15 minutes.
Be Mindful of How Much Force You Use
Without even realizing it, many of us use an unnecessary amount of force when performing various everyday tasks. This is particularly true in the case of typing, a task for which we regularly exert more force than is needed. Unsurprisingly, this can put undue strain on our hands and wrists, which can prove particularly problematic for people suffering from CTS.
Since we’ve grown so accustomed to exerting unnecessary amounts of force, changing this behavior requires a bit of mindfulness. So, the next time you find yourself in front of a keyboard, carefully take note of how much force you’re using versus how much force is actually required. Should you discover that the amount of force you’re putting forth is excessive, make a conscious effort to ease up.
Persistent carpal tunnel syndrome can put a damper on everything you do. Whether you’re engaged in work or leisure activities, the pain associated with this affliction ensures that CTS is never far from your thoughts. However, while carpal tunnel pain can be truly unpleasant, it’s often possible to manage. If you’re tired of allowing CTS to control your life and ready to get a handle on the pain, put the previously discussed pointers to good use.