If you are experiencing pain, numbness, tingling and weakness in your hands and fingers, you may have carpal tunnel syndrome.
Carpal tunnel syndrome can be resolved with Physiotherapy treatment. Carpal tunnel recovery can be sped up and optimized with self-management techniques.
In this article, I will share 5 Self Treatment Ideas to help with your Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
Bracing Or Taping Support -
Using a brace designed for carpal tunnel syndrome or taping the wrist is an easy and effective way to help manage your carpal tunnel.
Using this method can help keep the wrist in a neutral position. In a wrist neutral position, the median nerve at the carpal tunnel is at its least stressed position. When the wrist is bent at a flexed or extended position, the median nerve is compressed or stretched. This can aggravate an already irritated carpal tunnel syndrome.
The brace is simple to use, and once you put it on, you will have limited range of motion in the wrist.
If you choose to tape, tape would be applied on the wrist joint line. Locate the joint line by finding the bump on the outside of the wrist with your palms down (ulnar styloid process). Just after that bump is where the wrist joint is.
Apply the tape on the joint line by using either athletic tape or other supportive tapes like the leukotape/cover roll tape combo as mentioned in the video. Taping the wrist at this location will limit the amount of movement in the wrist and prevent you from extending or flexing your wrist too much
When To Use Brace
Use the brace at night as symptoms tend to worsen at nighttime. Other activities that involve stress to the wrist joint such as lifting or repetitive activities like typing may also benefit from brace use. When the wrist is not stressed with any activities, the brace can be removed. This prevents the wrist from becoming too stiff.
Taping, on the other hand, can be applied on an entire day as it still allows a bit of movement in the wrist.
Median Nerve Glide Exercise
Gliding exercise of the median nerve helps to break up any adhesions to the nerve without stressing it. At this stage, the exercise should be done carefully without triggering any carpal tunnel symptoms.
To Start this exercise have your wrist bent (flexed) with your elbows straight (extended). As you bend your elbow (flexed), extend your wrist and hand. Do this simultaneously and as smoothly as possible. Then slowly return to the start position of elbow straight and wrist flexed. Repeat this sequence for 10-15 reps, 2-3 times a day.
To be conservative, you can always start with a little bend in the elbow and not fully straighten it, and with the wrist gently flexed. Be careful not to go the full range of motion of the wrist and elbow when you first start. As you get more comfortable, you can do this gliding exercise with more elbow and wrist range of motion.
Contrast baths are an effective way to help improve circulation at the carpal tunnel. Fill 2 buckets of water, one with ice water and one with warm water.
Contrast baths help to pump swelling away by alternating hot and cold. Heat causes blood vessels to vasodilate or widen, and the ice causes vasoconstriction, or narrowing of the blood vessels. Increasing blood flow through contrast baths can also help speed up recovery.
Place your hand/wrist in cold water for 30 seconds, and then switch to heat for 10 seconds. Alternate this for 5 minutes or so, and end off with a cold water bath. You may do this 2-3 times per day.
Using P6 Acupressure Point
This acupressure point is located 3 finger widths down from the wrist crease in the center part of the lower forearm. This point helps with carpal tunnel syndrome as it stimulates the median nerve, releasing tension in the wrist and finger flexors muscle group. Stimulating the P6 acupressure point can also improve blood circulation at the wrist and hand level.
Massage P6 in a circular motion with your thumb for 30 seconds at a time. Repeat it 5 times. This point can feel sore and achy. You may also feel some temporary increase in symptoms in the fingers. Try this to see if it provides relief. If your symptoms worsen and persist, you may need to postpone this technique until it is less acute.
Improve Your Posture
Improving your posture is helpful for a variety of musculoskeletal conditions, including the recovery for carpal tunnel syndrome. Slouching with your head flexed and rounded shoulders can put more stress on the nerves in the neck, which can ultimately affect carpal tunnel syndrome, as the branches of the median nerve come from the neck.
Do this exercise regularly to help with your posture.
Sitting up tall. With your chin gently tucked in, roll your shoulders back and down and turn your thumbs outwards and backwards. Gently squeeze your shoulder blades together at the end. Hold for 5 seconds. Then relax and return to your start position. Try this out a few times every day, especially if you tend to slouch or work in front of a computer.
So those are the 5 things that you can do to help kick start your recovery for your carpal tunnel syndrome. Contact our Physiotherapists at EastWest Physiotherapy to start your carpal tunnel treatment and recover fast today!