3 Habits to Avoid If You Have Carpal Tunnel

3 Habits to Avoid If You Have Carpal Tunnel

Dealing with the pain of carpal tunnel syndrome is annoying and inconvenient at best and debilitating at worst. Your job and your life won’t be the same until you overcome the symptoms. Unfortunately, you may be exacerbating your condition with some seemingly harmless daily habits. 

Dr. Bryan King and our team at Tuscaloosa Orthopedic & Joint Institute help Alabamans find lasting relief from carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS), so they can resume their normal activities. However, many people suffering from CTS don’t realize they may be sabotaging their recovery with these common habits.

Here, Dr. King highlights three activities you should avoid if you have carpal tunnel syndrome.

1. Repetitive activities

While genetics, medical conditions, and hormonal imbalance may lead to CTS, repetitive activities top the list of things that both cause and aggravate carpal tunnel syndrome. 

Anything you do over and over again for hours on end can inflame the tissues inside your carpal tunnel. A few examples include:

You can also worsen carpal tunnel syndrome by maintaining a tight grip for a long time. For example, gripping a bat, a hammer, a spray gun, or a meat cleaver all day can lead to CTS.

2. Poor posture

Good posture is the key to spinal health, but it can also benefit your wrists, especially if you work at a keyboard all day. Your keyboard should be slightly above your lap, so your arms tilt slightly downward, and your elbows are relaxed and open. 

Also, don’t raise the upper part of your keyboard. Some manufacturers install a kickstand to elevate the keyboard’s top edge, but this puts your wrists at an unnatural angle. Do your wrists a favor and keep the keyboard flat on the desk. 

3. Working through the pain

Life is busy, and you have deadlines to meet — we understand. We support a sound work ethic, but rest is a major part of your treatment when you have carpal tunnel syndrome. This isn’t a suggestion; it’s a requirement. Prolonged CTS can lead to permanent nerve damage and loss of sensation.

Inflammation inside your wrist compresses the median nerve and triggers the classic CTS symptoms of numbness, tingling, weakness, and pain in the wrist and fingers. Continued use increases the swelling and worsens your symptoms. Taking frequent breaks and modifying your activities are essential to your recovery.

How to treat carpal tunnel syndrome

Not all wrist and hand pain points to CTS. Dr. King performs a thorough evaluation, X-rays, and a nerve conduction test to reach an accurate diagnosis. If he determines you have carpal tunnel syndrome, he develops a treatment plan based on the severity of your condition.

Mild cases often respond well to conservative measures such as rest, splinting, physical therapy, and over-the-counter anti-inflammatories. More severe cases may require surgical intervention to release to relieve the pressure on your nerve.

Don’t ignore CTS; call us at 205-391-4440 to schedule a consultation with Dr. King. 

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