The carpal tunnel is located on the inside part of the wrist. Nerves and ligaments are passing through this 'tunnel'. When the median nerve is constantly under pressure, you may be suffering from an inflammation : the carpal tunnel syndrome . For anatomical, hormonal and also biomechanical reasons, the space reserved for the median nerve in the carpal tunnel is sometimes very limited. This causes the median nerve to be compressed resulting in reduced innervation to the thumb, the index and the middle finger.
The symptoms develop slowly, then pains appear. Numbness and tingling in the fingers waking you up at night, loss of strength and loss of feeling in the hands making your daily tasks complicated… Here some solutions to relieve the pain.
What can I do to relieve the pain and the numbness waking me up?
To start with, identify the activities and the movements at risk triggering the symptoms and avoid them:
- Movement requiring an important strength in the hand (pliers, shears…);
- Sustained effort in a same position;
- Twisting motions of the wrist;
- Repetitive use of the thumb-index pinch;
- Cold environment (temperature below 10°C);
Change your posture or your work station:
- Favour tools suited to the task to do, i.e. which reduce the amount of grasping force needed.
- Keep the wrist in a straight alignment with the forearm.
- Avoid repetitive movements and twisting motions with your wrist.
- Avoid using vibrating tools. Wearing anti-vibration gloves could be beneficial.
- Avoid any external pressure on the carpal tunnel area.
- Opt for an ergonomic keyboard.
- Use forearm supports to avoid expanding the wrist while using the mouse.
Keep your hand and your wrist at rest:
When the symptoms get better, you could progressively go back to your usual activities.
Get an activity brace* and a rest brace* for your wrist: these braces must place the wrist in a neutral position so the nerve can be at rest in the tunnel during movements and stretching of the wrist.
Ask your doctor or your pharmacist for advice.
Do stretching and nerve gliding exercises with the arm and the wrist: some stretching exercises and yoga postures are aiming at stretching and lengthen the nerve. The goal is to make the tunnel less rigid and therefore, to reduce the pressure on the area.
For example, you can clench your fist and open your fingers one by one until they’re all straight, repeat this exercise 5 to 10 times in a row.
Apply cold and massage the painful area: apply cold (a towel soaked in cold water, a cold-water bottle), or ice on the inflamed area. Always remember to massage the painful area directly after applying ice on it in order to stimulate the blood flow and to keep the flexibility of the muscles fibers.
Don’t forget the anti-inflammatory solutions: some non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) are available without medical prescription. But other solutions such as acupuncture or a rich on omega-3 diet can help you to ease the symptoms.
Have contrast baths: put your hand including your wrist in hot water, and alternate with cold water. Repeat this for 10 minutes in order to reduce the swelling sensation that you may feeling.
*These products are class I medical devices that bear the CE marking under this regulation. Carefully read the instructions before use. Manufacturer: Millet Innovation. 04/2020