QUICK HEALTH TIPS: Carpal Tunnel Syndorme
Carpal tunnel results when pressure is constantly applied to the median nerve when the wrist is flexed up and down….if the wrist is repeatedly flexed and extended, the pressure is increased. Thousands of workers such as cashiers, data processors, assembly line workers, truck drivers and others who must use their hands on the job are affected. Even homemakers who spend a lot of time wringing wet laundry, sweeping with a broom or chopping vegetables are at risk also. This syndrome doesn’t happen overnight. It’s a cumulative trauma disorder that develops over time due to repeated stressful movements of the hand and wrist. Women are twice as likely as men to suffer from carpal tunnel syndrome, with the average age of onset being between 40 and 60. Symptoms usually affect one hand but can be present in both. Sometimes the affected hand will feel numb or tingle, or feel like it’s `fallen asleep`.
When the tingling begins, try some hand exercises like rotating the wrist in gentle circles for a couple of minutes. This helps exercise all the muscles of the wrist, restores circulation, and gets your wrist out of the bent position that usually brings on the symptoms. Lift your hands off the keyboard and up into the air. Raise your arm above your head and rotate your arm, while rotating your wrist at the same time. This helps your shoulder, neck and upper back get into a better position and relieves the stress and tension. Do neck turns also, looking over first one shoulder, then the other. These exercises should be done routinely during the day, whether you are in pain or not.
Cold packs will help bring down the swelling…don’t use heat. Avoid having your hand lower than your shoulder when you take a break from work. Sit with your elbows supported on your desk or propped up on the arms of the chair. Keep your hands pointed upward. Gentle squeezing motions of the fingers will help relieve tingling. Using a splint to keep your wrist straight is an option, but should be the kind that has a metal insert and Velcro fasteners, which gives support without being totally rigid. Aspirin or ibuprofen will help reduce pain and inflammation.
COURTESY OF: THE DOCTORS BOOK OF HOME REMEDIES
- Anthony R