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Preventing Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

Written by ritasharma, FoundHealth.

Reducing Your Risk

Carpal tunnel syndrome is most often caused by activity associated with repetitive hand motion on the job. Those most at risk, such as keyboard operators, factory workers, typists, musicians, barbers, and bus drivers, can do much to prevent development of carpal tunnel syndrome. Ergonomic specialists can help you set up your workplace to be as comfortable and efficient as possible.

Lifestyle Changes

You may reduce your chances of getting carpal tunnel syndrome by taking these steps:

  • Minimize repetitive hand movements when possible.
  • Alternate between activities or tasks to reduce the strain on your body.
  • When using your wrists, keep them straight and let your arms and shoulders share the stress.
  • Use your whole hand or both hands to pick up an item.
  • Avoid holding an object the same way for a long time.
  • If you work in an office, adjust your desk, chair, and keyboard so you are in the best possible position:
  • Back straight
  • Feet flat on the floor or resting on a footrest
  • Knees level with or slightly lower than your hips
  • Shoulders in a neutral position, not forward or back
  • Elbows bent at a 90 degree angle
  • Forearms parallel to the floor and wrists straight
  • Take breaks at least once an hour to:
  • Rest or shake your hands.
  • Massage the palms and backs of your hands.
  • Do a few stretches and loosening movements of the shoulders and arms before settling in to work. Do them often during the day.
  • Keep hands warm, with gloves if necessary.
  • Get regular aerobic exercise such as walking or swimming.
  • Cut down on caffeine and smoking, which may reduce blood flow to your hands.


According to a report published by the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons, a simple warm-up routine may greatly reduce the incidence of carpal tunnel syndrome.

The warm-up routine is as follows: * Hold your hands in front of you as if pushing on a wall. Count to five. * Relax your wrists and fingers. * Make tight fists with both hands. * Bend both fists downward. Count to five. * Repeat each step ten times. * Then shake arms loosely while hanging at your side.

Sleeping Position

A simple change in how your wrists are positioned during sleep may reduce your risk of getting carpal tunnel syndrome. Sleep with your wrists cocked upward instead of bent downward to minimize pressure in the carpal tunnel.



American Academy of Family Physicians website. Available at: .

American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons website. Available at: .

Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research website. Available at: .

Occupational Safety and Health Administration website. Available at: .

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1 Comment

Posted 13 years ago

SPLINTING The best non-surgical, non-drug treatment for carpal tunnel syndrome is a wrist splint. This is especially true for early mild carpal tunnel syndrome with occasional activity related symptoms and night time or nocturnal tingling. By keeping the wrist in a neutral position the median nerve has less pressure placed upon it from the surrounding tissues. It is pressure that exceeds the normal capillary pressure within the nerve itself that forces blood out of the nerve and leads to the changes in the nerve that are seen in carpal tunnel. In early carpal it is just a transient temporary loss of blood to the nerve. This is why when one wakes up with numb fingers form carpal tunnel that hanging hands down or shaking works, it forces the blood back into the nerve.

When we sleep, the fluid in our body that spends the day finding it way into our feet ( that may feel tired and swollen) at the end of the day now redistributes itself when we lie down. At night when we also flex our wrists or extend our wrists into awkward positions it also puts pressure on the nerve. The extra swelling in the nerve and the position can often be lessened by using a simple night time wrist splint. Only a small increase in pressure is needed to push the blood out of the median nerve. Think about when you push on your own palm or fingertip skin and it goes flat or changes color, that's al it takes. Now imagine you put pressure on that same spot every night for a few hours and that area was also subject to increased pressure form local swelling.

Later if the carpal tunnel progresses, the splint is not as effective. Splinting alone shouild not be the only treatment for all cases of carpal tunnel, antinflammatories, injections, and surgery as well as correcting any metabolic or endocrine issues all are very useful....but splinting should be the answer for the best non-surgical, non-drug treatment

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