Your hands and arms are tingling, numb, and throbbing with pain, and you’ve been dealing with it for months. You have carpal tunnel syndrome. And if you’re like the many others suffering from this painful condition, you may feel destined for the operating table.
We know there’s a better way.
Dr. David Wu, our pain management specialist at CurePain, helps you find the right combination of therapies and lifestyle adjustments to help you find relief from your symptoms sans scalpel.
Here are some of the best ways to address carpal tunnel and possibly avoid surgery.
Tweak your routine
Treating carpal tunnel without surgery often requires some adjustments on your end. For instance, avoid holding or flexing your wrist in extreme positions. Instead, keep them as neutral as possible. Changing up the type of activity you’re doing can also be helpful.
Also, check in with how forcefully you type, write, and/or grip things while you work. Do your best to relax and be mindful about loosening up.
Find the warmth
Cold hands and wrists are stiff and painful. When you have carpal tunnel, you want to keep them as warm as possible to encourage blood flow and flexibility. We recommend having a pair of fingerless gloves or hand warmers nearby while you work.
Prioritize rest and stretching
Irritated nerves in your wrist need rest more than anything. Set a timer or reminder to take a break for at least 10-15 minutes every hour. During that time, gently stretch your wrist back and forth and wiggle your fingers to improve blood flow and relieve pain.
We encourage you to continue stretching and strengthening your wrists even after you’ve clocked out for the day. Standing in line at the grocery store, watching TV, etc. are great times to work in a few pain-relieving stretches.
In addition to stretching, you may also benefit from elevating your hands, especially if your carpal tunnel stems from pregnancy, fractures, or other causes of fluid retention.
Establish healthier habits
It should be no surprise that habits supporting your overall health can also help carpal tunnel. Maintaining a healthy weight, increasing your physical activity levels, and stopping tobacco use go a long way in relieving your symptoms naturally.
When you have carpal tunnel, keeping your wrists in a neutral position is the best way to relieve pressure on your nerves. That’s why we often start treatment with wrist-hand orthotics that hold your wrists in the ideal position.
Because symptoms tend to get worse overnight, we recommend you wear the orthotics in the evening — you may even find it helps relieve your symptoms before they start. You can also wear orthotics during the day to give you extra support.
Talk to us about injections
Many of our patients benefit from minimally invasive, highly effective steroid injections. With a simple injection, we can deliver powerful anti-inflammatory medication directly into your wrist to give you quick, long-lasting pain relief.
When it’s time for surgery
Though many cases of mild to moderate carpal tunnel respond well to the conservative methods we mentioned, we can’t guarantee that you won’t need surgery. If early intervention proves unsuccessful, we begin discussing your candidacy for surgery.
Carpal tunnel surgery aims to relieve pressure on your median nerve by carefully cutting the ligament surrounding the carpal tunnel. There are two main types of carpal tunnel surgery: open and endoscopic.
Endoscopic surgery involves a telescope-like device with a camera attached, allowing your surgeon to see inside the carpal tunnel and make accurate incisions. Open surgery requires an incision in your palm over the carpal tunnel to give your surgeon access to the ligament.
Many patients enjoy permanent relief after surgery, though you may deal with mild, lingering symptoms after surgery if you have a severe case of carpal tunnel.
We’d love to talk with you if you’d like more information about managing carpal tunnel.Call our friendly staff at 424-235-6565 or use our online booking tool to schedule an appointment at our Torrance, California, office today.