Carpal tunnel? Not heard this name, you will say. But ask those who are into such professions where they have to perform the same task repeatedly over and over again. These tasks are about use of your fingers and hands. The hands, fingers or more specifically thumb may become swollen and painful or feel numb. In short, this disease does not allow you to use your hands and fingers as efficiently as you would have otherwise. Or worst still you may not be able to perform many tasks using your hands.
What is a Carpal Tunnel?
This tunnel (passage) runs through the wrist, it is of the size of the thumb. It is crowded with blood vessels, nerves and tendons. All of them are packed there, these tendons control the movement of the hands. The most important nerve, called meridian nerve passes through the carpal tunnel. Hence, in the structure of the hand the carpal tunnel holds a special place.
Symptoms of Carpal Tunnel
Carpal tunnel syndrome is marked by numbness, tingling, pain in the hand, and pain in the fingers. All these symptoms may be present or there may only a few of them. Some people experience pain in their elbow and some may feel weak.
The most commonly affected parts are the index finger, thumb, middle finger and half of the ring finger. The little finger is not at all affected by the carpal tunnel syndrome. The nerve linked to the little finger does not run through the carpal tunnel. It is possible that you will experience this pain the first time at night. It is at the night that your trouble increases at night.
Over a period of time if it is not controlled well and takes a turn for the worse, the pain may radiate to the arms and shoulder. Eventually the thumb muscles may start getting wasted away.
Causes of Carpal Tunnel
Carpal tunnel syndrome happens when the meridian nerve comes under pressure due to certain medical conditions or improper use of hands, arms and fingers etc. It usually occurs due to repetitive movements of hands. There are certain tasks which require forceful movement of hands repeatedly, they all may lead to carpal tunnel syndrome. There is a long list of these tasks e.g. typing, working with a mouse, working with a screw driver, playing music on a stringed instrument etc to name a few.
When the wrist is bent at an odd angle and the posture is also not right; this may lead to carpal tunnel syndrome. The medical conditions that can cause carpal tunnel are rheumatoid arthritis, low levels of thyroid (hypothyroidism), overweight and pregnancy.
Home Remedies For Carpal Tunnel
Shift Jobs For Carpal Tunnel
You must rotate the jobs, switch between various tasks so that the actions which pertain to the carpal tunnel are not done for a long period of time. The tasks should use different muscles.
Breaks are an integral part of any job. But now with this syndrome you have to be very particular about the timings of the breaks. You can think of these in two ways, either take a mini break of one or two minutes after every 20 to 30 minutes or consider a longer break of 15 to 20 minutes after 2 hours or so. You can change your position frequently, stretch your arms while still in the chair.
If your weight is the cause of carpal tunnel, you must work towards reducing it. Follow a dietitian and eat as per whatever the dietitian’s recommendation. Your physical trainer will have to pitch in for reduction of weight. After that it is up to you how committed you are to this cause. You need to follow it over a very long period of time.
Grip Properly For Carpal Tunnel
If the fingers are hurting we can open the lid of the jar using our whole hand. That will save further stress in the fingers. Once you start working this way, you will get to learn the ways to manage your chores.
Use Right Tools For Carpal Tunnel
Going ergo is the key here. Your tools, implements and workstation need to be redesigned keeping in mind your condition. There may be some tools which have very good handles and grips. There are keypads which need light touch. There are some other tools which do not let the wrist to bend. We can use a simple example of a pen. There are pens available which have a very smooth flow of the ink, thus reducing the stress on the hands.
Do These Exercises
There are three simple stretches that you can incorporate in your daily life. The first is the prayer pose, it is done while standing. You need to bring your hands together in front of your chest, exactly the way we stand for prayer.
Now slowly slide your hands down and rest them near your stomach. You can keep this position for half a minute. Repeat this exercise ten times at one go. In a day you should do it four to five times.
Yoga For Carpal Tunnel
Join a yoga class and your yoga teacher will design a few exercise for you to beat the tunnel syndrome. One exercise that will be recommended is anjali mudra. It is similar to the stretching exercise that in mentioned above. You will be taught many gentle exercises which will not only benefit you for carpal tunnel but also for better health.