Carpal tunnel syndrome is a neurological syndrome that comes into effect when excessive pressure takes a toll on the median nerve that runs along the carpal tunnel (in other words, nerve compression). Though a common post-injury syndrome after wrist injuries, carpal tunnel syndrome can even find its way to you even without accidents.
Lifestyle diseases like diabetes and rheumatoid arthritis are the top diseases that make its victims highly susceptible to the syndrome. Pregnancy and old age also make people vulnerable to it. If left untreated, it does not take long for the tingling sensations to grow voraciously and affect daily life by interfering in coordination and strength.
Symptoms That Are Red Flags!
Carpal tunnel syndrome is largely concerned with the compression on your median nerve that runs along with the hand into your fingers. Hence, the major symptoms you see are a consequence of these nerve lines.
- Numbness and tingling sensation on fingers except for the little finger. Sometimes they may elevate to a burning sensation.
- These symptoms show prominent effects during nighttime (sleep period).
- Weakness and clumsiness are associated with the thenar area (the part along the line where the wrist connects to your thumb).
- A slight pressure on the nerve area drastically escalates the symptoms.
Though these are major tell-tale signs, carpal tunnel syndrome is clinically diagnosed. A clinical diagnosis helps you validate the symptoms and turn to the appropriate treatment method without losing time. In addition, advancements in medical sciences have made it possible to limit growth and provide a permanent solution if started earlier. Along with it, strict control on lifestyles and physical exercises can help in the reversal process naturally.
Exercise To Make Part Of Your Lifestyle!
Exercises should not exert more pressure on the nerve as it can also lead to damaging them and deteriorating the symptoms. Moreover, if the syndrome has progressed considerably over the years, exercise alone is insufficient to treat it.
However, physical exercises are an excellent way to recover and prevent post-surgery traumas if coupled with other treatment modes.
Here Are A Few Exercises Classified According To Their Effect!
- Shake it Off: Especially helpful when the pain increases during nighttime, you can gently shake the wrist till the pain subsides. Hanging it off the sides of the bed may also decrease the pain.
- Rest: What your wrist demands is less exertion. Avoid doing activities that elevate the symptoms. If symptoms occur in between, stop the activity and take some rest.
- Brace them: Braces might help if the syndrome is in its early stages. Consult a doctor on where and how long you should use a brace.
- Wrist extension: Extend your hand in front of you at shoulder level. Gently pull the wrist up (like making a stop sign) using your other palm till you feel a gentle stretch. Hold for 15 seconds, release and repeat five times.
- Wrist flexion: extend your hands out at shoulder level. Gently pull down the wrist with the other palm towards your body. Hold for 15 seconds, release and repeat five times.
- Tendon Gliding Exercise: Extend your hands such that all fingers stand together erect. Bend the fingers at first knuckle (your fingers still extended) and bring the thumb together, forming a beak. In the next exercise, extend your fingers and bend at the first and second knuckle, forming a hook-like structure with your fingers except for your thumb. Repeat 10 sets of each three times a day
It is advisable that before taking on any exercise, you consult specialists who can dictate the extremes that your hands can bear with the current stage of the syndrome.
Things To Avoid If You Are Suffering!
Typically exercises that exert pressure on your hands are largely responsible for aggravating the symptoms. Most people would immediately link it to typing since it is the most suggestive action that puts prolonged pressure on the wrists and nerves. However, other daily exercises like gaming, playing keyboard or violins, etc., are beneficial. Make sure if the symptoms are aggravating, take a rest from these. At the same time, they are fairly safe and won’t make you develop the syndrome. However, activities that demand excessive use of pressure on hands like mechanical and agricultural work can increase the chances of developing the syndrome.
Since lifestyle diseases also play a large role in it, here are some foods to avoid to keep these diseases and, in turn, the syndrome at bay. Avoid food rich in bad carbs and saturated fats. In turn, consume fruits and vegetables rich in antioxidants and vitamins to keep your health up.
An early treatment against the syndrome makes it less dangerous than others. However, since the symptoms are common with other diseases, a clinical diagnosis is the best way to tackle the syndrome. Exercises and a good lifestyle can arrest the syndrome and work towards natural reversal. However, in severe conditions, surgery followed by physical exercise can slowly help you regain your coordination and strength.