Exercises to Prevent Carpal Tunnel

Author: Shannon Miller Lifestyle

According to the American Chiropractic Association, Carpal Tunnel Syndrome (CTS) is the most expensive of all work related injuries. Someone who suffers from CTS loses about $30,000 in medical bills and time absent from work in their lifetime.

What is Carpal Tunnel Syndrome?

Carpal Tunnel Syndrome is a disorder that can cause pain, numbness, and weakness in the hand and wrist. CTS is a repetitive stress injury of the median nerve in the wrist –NOT the muscle, contrary to popular belief.

Symptoms of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

Symptoms of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome typically come on very gradually. Burning, itching, and/or numbness in the palm of the hand, thumb, index, and middle fingers are most common. Symptoms often occur first at night, since many people sleep with their wrists flexed.  As the condition worsens, symptoms may become more noticeable during the day.  Weakened grip and inability to differentiate between hot and cold by touch are among more severe symptoms as well.

Risk Factors of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

  • CTS is associated with a family history of the disorder, this is simply because the carpal tunnel is smaller in some people than others.
  • Repetitive movements in the hands and wrists may make an individual more likely to develop CTS.
  • Individuals with jobs in fields such as manufacturing, assembly line, grocery store clerks, and carpenters are more likely to have CTS.
  • Individuals with hobbies such as golfing, knitting, gardening, and some musical instruments are also more likely to develop CTS.
  • Women are 3 times more likely to develop CTS than men.
  • Pregnant women can be more susceptible to develop CTS due to hormonal changes and a build of fluid, particularly during the last few months.
  • Older people are at a higher risk to develop CTS than younger adults.
  • Previous injury or trauma to the wrist, like a fracture or sprain can cause swelling and pressure on the nerve, increasing the risk of CTS.
  • Medical conditions such as diabetes, hypothyroidism, lupus, obesity, and rheumatoid arthritis can also add to an individuals predisposition to CTS.

Treatment of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

Treatment for carpal tunnel syndrome should begin as early as possible, under the direction of your Primary Care Physician. When treated early, it is less likely that CTS will require surgery. There are various treatment options, including: resting the affected hand and wrist, immobilizing the wrist in a splint, stretching and strengthening exercises for the wrist, over-the-counter and prescription drugs, and chiropractic adjustment, as well as surgical treatment in worst-case scenarios.

Here are a few exercises to help prevent carpal tunnel syndrome. Remember, just as a runner would warm up before a run, doing a quick 5 minute warm-up before starting work can help prevent a work-related injury.

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